Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Don’t Sell Those Textbooks--- Build a Library!

RICHMOND, Va.-- It’s Christmas Day 2007!

Aside from all the traditions of opening gifts and welcoming family for Christmas dinner, here at home (REAL HOME—as in Richmond, Virginia) there’s also a chance to reminisce about our days of the past.

As we decorated the Christmas tree last night, we found some lights that my brother and I believe were the same ones that we used some 30 years ago. Some of bulbs were missing and we determined those needed to be discarded.

Christmas traditions are but one topic on which to think about the way things used to be.

For me, the bookshelf in my bedroom is always a chance to reflect and remember.

Every time I come back here (at least twice or even three times a year), I’ll pull a book from the shelf and re-read something that might have been written 10 or 20 years years ago. There are a couple of titles that were handed down by my parents—they’re 40 or 50 years old.

At least half of the titles that are on the shelf are old textbooks from high school and college. I spent so much money on textbooks each semester at Howard that I could not imagine letting go of them as so many students do today. In fact, many of my books are key references for me now as a college professor.

It’s 15 years since I received my B.A. in news-editorial journalism, longer since I’ve used many of these books.

But, the FOUR math books—Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II and College Algebra/Trigonometry—those were all from my high school years. Actually, my high school decided to get rid of some textbooks near the end of my time and I was able to grab copies of my math books.

I never thought math was my strong topic, but I enjoyed the challenge of solving the equations and working the problems. I went on to take an extra semester of “Functions,” a college course at Howard. I often think what would have happened if I had advanced in this area?

After that advanced placement (AP) class in Calculus, I knew I could handle any math someone threw at me. Well, I’m a “WORD” person now—a journalist who happens to be teaching journalism.

But, my old textbooks (because I refused to SELL them) provide interesting pathways to the past and might even help me help ANOTHER generation of students tackling math.

Well, I’ll end this post on the math note. We’ll tackle another subject when I come back here in March on spring break. It will be my 38th birthday—so that will give me another reason to reminisce.

No comments: