Since we launched our blog last summer, we have received some wonderful and helpful feedback from teachers around the country. We thought we would take the opportunity to share one teacher’s thoughtful letter, below.
Educational blogs abound on the Internet, ranging from the mundane to the absurd. The RHI Magazine on the Web is a refreshing educational blog. I read this blog on a weekly basis. I find it useful for many reasons. First, it provides me information on current releases of popular fiction that may be of interest to my students. For instance, I recently became acquainted with Matthew Pearl and his literary inspired series featuring The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, and The Last Dickens. After acquiring these books for my classroom, I was amazed at how quickly they left my classroom bookshelf. They were enjoyed by numerous students and other members of my department. Students find the references to the authors’ lives in these books fascinating. Most of them are first drawn to The Poe Shadow because of Poe’s popularity among high school students but then eagerly read The Last Dickens.
Second, I enjoy the teaching resources RHI provides. Anytime I choose to incorporate a new novel into my curriculum, I begin with a search at Random House. This site provides excellent reading guides with wonderful discussion questions and other teaching ideas. I was impressed when I noticed they were already offering a guide to the new release Beatrice and Virgil. Teachers appreciate RHI’s promptness in providing relevant materials to accompany new releases. RHI also provides excellent professional resources. Many articles feature the latest in educational research. The recent entry on Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success intrigued me. As an educator, I have a responsibility to ensure my students’ success in college and beyond. This responsibility needs to move beyond just reassuring students that they are smart. Instead I should encourage students to realize that life is a learning process and intelligence is never set but always evolving. Dweck’s recent release hits upon this line of thinking and solidifies my ever-changing attitude towards my students’ success.
The best part of the RHI blog is the giveaways. Random House seems to be fully aware of the financial constraints facing teachers and confronts this awareness with generous giveaways of materials. Recent promotions have included a Billy Collins Ballistics poster for National Poetry Month and a signed copy of Yann Martel’s new book.
As a College Board consultant, I have the opportunity to present numerous workshops and summer institutes. Sharing the resources Random House provides has become a staple in these presentations. Teachers are always pleased with what the blog and website offer. They like knowing about the giveaways that Random House sponsors. At a recent workshop, the participants were pleased to see a comment from me posted on the blog. It demonstrated how accessible this educational resource is to teachers. Random House provides teachers with a wide variety of ways to enhance their classroom experience. —Lisa Baker, Wilburton High School, Wilburton, OK