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Tips for Teaching Without a Text

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Sometimes teachers are faced with a classroom situation where they have no texts available. This can be a really scary situation for new and veteran teachers. Sometimes this situation can be caused by a lack of funding combined with textbook attrition through the years. Other times this situation is the result of a school's philosophy concerning textbook use. Following are some tips to help you survive and make the most of this situation:
  • If you are a new teacher, go back to the standards and find a state-approved textbook to use as a basis for organizing your curriculum.
  • Search the internet for lesson ideas and modify these to fit into your scope and sequence for the year.
  • Ask the school if there is any money for supporting materials or ready-made lessons to use within the class.
  • Find out if your local newspaper donates copies to the school. These can be great sources for lessons.
  • Keep your eye out for current events because these can also prove useful when creating lessons.
  • Don't be afraid to ask veteran teachers for ideas and resources that you can use in your class. This is especially true if they are teaching the same course as you. Use their experience to your advantage and this will help you round out your lessons.
  • Create a detailed lesson plan calendar with a file using the information gathered from the variety of sources listed here. Include clippings from magazines, printouts from the Internet, and other supporting materials in the file with dates attached.
In any case, having no texts can be challenging but it can also be very rewarding. In fact, being forced to teach without a text can help you formulate a plan to teach the skills that are most important to your students' learning. A text can often be a crutch or act as a tool that forces you to madly dash through content without the ability to truly reach mastery. Do not look at the lack of a text to be the ultimate millstone. A text can be a valuable tool in the teacher's arsenal but it should not be the only tool. Teaching without a text can and will be a true test of your ability as a teacher.
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