When I was a child, my parents bought a set of reprints of the old McGuffey Readers, which had been widely used as elementary school textbooks in the United States until the mid 20th century. When I was in second grade, I noticed that there was a shocking difference between my schoolbooks and the McGuffey books. Mr. McGuffey used a simple and direct method of teaching reading. Then, he gave children interesting things to read.
To a child, having a bad teacher is like serving a long, undeserved prison sentence. And the sentence is long. A school year represents a huge proportion of a young child’s life. Unfortunately, the child is generally condemned to serve the entire sentence, without hope of parole or time off for good behavior. Who among us has not seen a bright, happy child become a miserable, underperforming student simply because he or she was assigned to a dysfunctional teacher who was making that child’s life a living hell?