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Why I Wish Professors Would Avoid Teaching Their Own Books

Coming to college for me, and many others, involved a lot of firsts. It was the first time I moved away from home, the first time I got to choose all my classes and class times, and the first time I felt independent from my family.  But, it was also the first time I had a class in which the teacher was using their own book as a guide for the class. This may seem like a very small and insignificant “first”, however, it’s actually become one of the most frustrating and difficult to deal with. 

As an English major, I read a lot of books for my classes and these sections of readings get discussed daily within the classroom. With most texts that we analyze, I feel confident in my ideas and am more than likely to participate in the class discussions. However, when my professor is the author of the book we are reading, my confidence disappears. Teachers don’t know the absolute meanings of other texts. They are gray areas that are always open for interpretation. When it comes to analyzing their own book, there may be some gray areas, but the fact is: they know what they wrote, they know the purpose, and they know how they did it. This can make it very difficult as a student because you know the professor knows “the right answer”. 

Professors also fail to break down every part of what they are teaching when it comes to their own texts. This is likely due to the fact that they know the information so well and forget that the students might not understand everything as well as the professor does. Learning, when situations like this occur, becomes much more difficult. 

I love all of my professors, and I love all of their books, but I don’t love having to analyze their books in front of them. English students should be provided with classrooms that allow for creative interpretation and analysis. That is why it’s my belief that professors should keep their books, and their biases, out of the classroom. 

Emily Crain

Endicott '24

English Secondary Education Major Gender Studies Minor