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

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

Donate a children’s book today! (Half Pint Library kicks off)

Have you heard that Half Price Books has committed to donating one million books to the community in 2012? One of the major ways we give the gift of reading each and every year is through our Half Pint Library Book Drive, and it’s that time again! 

The Half Price Books’ 2012 Half Pint Library Book Drive runs February 20-March 31, 2012. Drop off your new or gently used children’s books at any Half Price Books location. For every book donated, HPB will match it. Donations will benefit local nonprofit organizations in your community. For more information about how the book drive works, make sure to check out our FAQs.

2012 marks the 13th year of Half Pint Library program. With your help, we have provided more than two and a half million books and created hundreds of Half Pint Libraries across the nation. In 2011 alone, 313,840 books were donated to hundreds of nonprofit groups and schools in 16 states. Thank you for helping to share the love of reading with deserving children and their families. 

Hey, Teachers and Librarians! Interested in hosting your own Half Pint Library Drive at your school? Your school could win a $200 HPB Gift Card!

Enroll your school to host a Half Pint Library Book Drive March 19-23 for a chance to win an HPB Gift Card for your school or library. Registration is open now and closes March 9th.

Ready, set, go! 

 — Kate (and BW)