Dear Literature Textbook Publishing Companies,

As an educator, I must thank you for doing teachers (and to a lesser extent, students) the service of compiling a great deal of literature (especially in a variety of genres), biographical and historical information, and other useful features that help facilitate the teaching of literature in the English language arts classroom. All of the work you do to give a wide selection of works saves me a lot of work in trying to track down the works that I would like to teach as well as in photocopying them for distribution, etc. I do really appreciate the fact that you provide this service, and it has been incredibly useful in my own curriculum planning since you include literature that I often haven’t even read.

However, I must make a complaint. It has become apparent to me that you are not always very careful in looking over versions of the textbooks that you send out. In particular, the teacher edition that I have is replete with omissions and errors, and not insignificant ones, either: the ending of a story might be missing, or the ending line of a poem might only have the first word, or one page might end in the middle of a paragraph and the following page repeat back at the beginning of the same paragraph.

In all fairness, I have not yet checked to see if my employer has any other teacher editions that do not have these errors, nor have I had the opportunity to check the student texts to see if they are error-ridden either.  Nevertheless, it makes my job much more difficult when I cannot even read some whole works without being cut off (unless, of course, they happen to be available on the Internet, as some poems are).

Some of these errors are surprising, so do try to be more careful in the future.

Sincerely,
Mr. B


[Maybe at some point I’ll take some pictures of what I’m talking about for those interested. It’s really irritating to be reading a story, turn the page, and see that there’s no more story – well, there is, but it didn’t get printed. If any of my student texts or any of my other teacher editions (hopefully I have another teacher edition of this American lit text other than the one that I discovered these in) have errors like these, I will raise some hell, proverbially speaking. I’ll let you, my faithful readers, know how things turn out.]

[Update, 6/27/09: I finally got back to my classroom again today, and I was greeted (so to speak) with good and bad news: Good) The student editions didn’t seem to have the errors that my teacher edition did (and I haven’t found any errors in the sophomore text – haven’t gotten to the senior text), but Bad) There were no other teacher editions there. So I may need to talk to my principal anyway about complaining to the publisher so we can get a teacher edition sans errata.]

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