Meet the Teachers: Highlighting Educators in the Community

Educators hold a special place in our hearts at Half Price Books. Earlier this year, we introduced you to a pair of teachers who are true HPB booklovers. Adriana and Jeffery Sifford visited every HPB in the Houston, TX area (there are nine for anyone who’s counting) in a single day and tweeted about their adventure along the way. In this Q&A, we get to know Adriana and Jeff, and discover more about their choice to pursue a career in education.

Why did you become an educator?
Adriana – When I was a reporter, I covered education and I loved going to teachers’ classrooms and watching them teach. Students were engaged, teachers were having fun. I watched how students were learning from the teachers, and I always wanted to be a part of that.
Jeffrey – This may sound so cliché, but to make a difference. I always enjoyed learning and that’s something I wanted to pass on.

A

What do teachers do when their kids are at lunch? Take selfies in the classroom! Looking good, Adriana.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Adriana – My favorite teacher was Ms. Martinez. She was my 9th grade English teacher. She was nice, patient and was there for us when we needed her. She was also my debate coach. She made learning fun!
Jeffrey – My favorite teacher was my 4th grade English teacher, Mrs. Zaskoda. She made reading come alive and I looked forward to going to her class every day. Continue reading

Why I Teach: 5 Books and Movies with Inspiring Educators

I’d like to introduce you all to Caitlyn! She’s a middle school teacher in North Texas (an amazing one at that) and a wonderful friend of mine. Check out her picks of books and movies that help her along her teaching journey.  Enjoy!  -Sam


I’m one of those brave individuals that has chosen [been called to] a career as a teacher. I didn’t sign on because I wanted to have my summers free (although it is a beautiful perk) and I certainly didn’t embark on this journey because I thought it’d be easy (because in fact, nothing could be further from the truth). But it is my joy and my privilege to impart some small bit of knowledge on a set of middle school students every year.

I find inspiration in almost everything, even this Starbucks I’m sitting in. I really like the seating arrangements in this space and I’m making notes – ha! The greatest source of inspiration for me comes from books and movies. They are my love language. After a difficult day, I know I can read a chapter or watch a few minutes of a favorite story and it’ll fill my sails for the next day.

These are five movies and books that have been a source of motivation and encouragement at some point in my career.

Dead Poets Society (starring Robin Williams)
O Captain! My Captain! If you’ve ever seen this gem, then you’re probably nodding your head in a very, Ahh…of course kind of way. Mr. Keating is one of the reasons I love poetry and why I find it essential to teach in a free kind of way – no right or wrong, but interpretation and feeling. This movie reminds me that each person has the right to explore their own identity – what brings them joy, inspires them and fulfills them. I teach Walt Whitman’s poem O Captain! My Captain to my 8th graders and I love showing them the clip from this movie with that iconic line. Mr. Keating encourages me to be a source of inspiration to my kiddos, showing them that they can make their lives extraordinary.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” Continue reading

Teacher Appreciation Week: Celebrating Educators and Half Pint Library

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and we have some teachers to thank!

As we bid farewell once again to the biggest book drive and book giveaway of the year, the Half Price Books Half Pint Library program, we say a special thanks to the educators and game-changers who came out during April and picked up box after box of children’s books to deliver to their own classrooms and libraries. Selfless acts of literary kindness are just one of the things that make teachers great.

At Half Price Books, we know that educators spend lots of their own money each year to furnish their own classroom supplies. That’s why we created the Half Pint Library Program to help defer some of that cost by providing books for kids in need.

So, teachers, THANK YOU! The 17th Annual Half Price Books Half Pint Library giveaway events ended last week and our math lesson for the day follows. Here is HPL by-the-numbers:

1 month

34 Half Pint Library Book Giveaway events

16 states across the USA

487 schools and non-profits

11 Half Price Books trucks FULL of kids books

53,021 books donated by customers

170,256 books matched by Half Price Books

223,277 total books given away!

Thank you to our customers who donated books in March! Half Price Books was able to match these donations (and then some) with excess kids’ books from our stores. We provided every teacher or non-profit that attended a giveaway at least two boxes of books to support their libraries and programs in local communities across the nation!

The Half Pint Library program (HPL) is part of the year-round Million Book Donation Project. This annual children’s book drive is hosted each spring by Half Price Books to collect and distribute books to those in need. Books donated through the Half Pint Library program provide an escape from the challenges faced by children while helping to boost literacy skills outside of school. In many cases, children receive their first book through the Half Pint Library program. The drive accepts any type of children’s book, including Spanish language books, as long as they are in good condition. The program has collected more than 2 million books for pediatric patients, community centers, schools and other children in need.

 

And don’t forget! You can save 10% off your purchases from Half Price Books year-round with our Educator Discount Card.

Becky is Marketing Communications Manager at Half Price Books Corporate.

You can follow her on Twitter at @bexican75.

Reading Lists 101

Summer is almost here, and that means traveling, pool parties, lazy days of lounging, and… required school reading?! We know that finding those assigned books can be tricky, and HPB wants to do our best to make the search easier. So tell us, educators…

Let us know which books and authors your classrooms will be reading this summer (Dickens? Dostoyevsky? du Maurier?) by filling out our Reading Lists 101 form and bringing it to your favorite HPB store. Our stores will do their best to build summer and required reading displays most relevant to what local schools are reading. While we can’t guarantee that we’ll have the titles in stock, knowing classrooms’ required reading lists will help us to select and group together the most sought-after books, and our Bibliomaniacs will be better equipped to assist students in their search.
 
Is there a book that you were required to read for school that turned out to be an all-time favorite? How about one that you can’t believe isn’t on required reading lists? Let us know in the comments! 

— Kate

If you can read this, thank a teacher!

May 7 – 11 is Teacher Appreciation Week, and what better time to reflect on all that teachers mean to us than right before school lets out for the summer?

Beyond teaching the ABCs and 123s, educators inspire us to think creatively, solve problems, and ask questions about our surroundings so we can learn how to improve our lives.

Need a way to show your favorite teachers how much you appreciate them? Why not find them a novel from their favorite fiction genre, or how about a new blank journal to record their thoughts? Tip: You can inscribe the cover page with a short note, inspirational quote or poem thanking your teachers for all that they taught you and let them know how they’ve made a difference in your life.

Or, if you’re not quite sure what your teacher would enjoy, gift cards are always appreciated. Now through Sunday, May 13, when you purchase a $25 HPB Gift Card, you’ll receive a $5 HPB Card for yourself to use in-store during the month of June!

As our own special “thank you” to educators, teachers and librarians can save 10% year-round on all their purchases at HPB when they sign up for the HPB Educator Discount Program.

Did you have a particularly exceptional teacher that inspired you? Tell us about it in the comments!

— Kate & BW