I got my new business cards last week. I'm officially a "curriculum resource specialist." I suppose it's just a fancy label for bookseller, but it's also a pretty good description of what I do.
Let's say you are a fourth grade teacher in Georgia, where a strongly standards-driven educational system dictates what teachers teach. At some point during the year, you'll be teaching the Inuit, the Kwakiutl, the Nez Perce, the Hopi, the Pawnee, and the Seminole. Then you'll move on to the exploration and settlement of the American colonies, the Revolutionary war, and so forth, until you're just short of the Civil War. If you teach science, you'll be working on stars, the water cycle, weather, light and sound, and ecosystems, among other things. You'll want books on these subjects in your school library. Library bound books at an appropriate reading level. I can help with that.
Lots of schools these days want classroom libraries. Paperback books in the back of the classroom for their students to read during the day. A good percentage of these books should be nonfiction on the topics they study.
A fourth grade teacher needs books in his/her classroom on the appropriate subject, but they also need that subject matter to be written at the level the students are reading. That can vary for a fourth grade classroom. Some students may be reading at or above fourth grade level, but a lot of them won't be. Not only do teachers need books on those specific Native American tribes at a fourth to fifth grade reading level, but also at a second to third grade reading level for their struggling students.
I search for the right books at the right level from my Delaney database of over 75 publishers. That's the part of this job that I love. Matching the books to the needs of the classroom teacher.
One of the perks of being a curriculum resource specialist is that I get lots of samples. Publishers come out with new lists of books twice a year, spring and fall. So I usually get three shipments of books and catalogs somewhere between January and March and again between August and October. Occasionally I order my own samples if I have a customer who would like to see a product. And then there are the specialty products that come at random times of the year. Like the Dr. Jean Literacy kits for Pre-K. Or the Big Books by George that come in some really fabulous canvas bags packaged according to comprehension strategies. A great product for my county that's moving in this direction with every subject.
So let's just say the UPS man knows my address really well.
On Saturday, my husband walked into the salon where he gets his haircut. He's a regular and is pretty well known among the hairdressers. This week there was another man sitting in one of the chairs.
"So how are things going at 4... B.... Drive?" the strange man asked.
"Pretty good, I guess," my husband managed to say.
The hairdresser laughed. "He loves doing that to people. He's the UPS man."
In the ensuing conversation, the UPS man asked, "So what's in all those boxes your wife gets?"
"Books," my husband explained. "She's a writer."
"Well that explains why they're so heavy."
"So did you tell him they weren't my books?" I asked.
"No, he thinks you're famous!"
Oh good grief.
My husband is extremely supportive of my writing. He thinks everything I write is wonderful, which makes him a sweetheart, but not a very good critiquer.
But here's the heart of the matter. How did the UPS man identify him as the resident of 4... B...... Drive?
You see, it's not me that's famous at all. It's the man and his truck!
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