by Tom Rademacher, acquisitions editor for professional resources for Free Spirit Publishing and Shell Education
If you’ve met me in the past sixteen years, you’ve likely known me as a teacher. That work has dominated my heart, my time, and my identity for that time. I spent most of those years in middle and high schools, teaching language arts, advocating for students and teachers, and looking for ways to do this nearly impossible thing called teaching just a little bit better. In 2014, I was named Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year, and since then, I’ve spent any extra time I could find writing, speaking, and training (but mostly tweeting) about education.
I’ve researched, questioned, learned, and unlearned a lot in those years, and there’re a few things I now know to be true.
- Teaching is way too hard. That doesn’t mean that many teachers aren’t doing an incredible job, just that it could be a lot easier to succeed if the right pieces were in place.
- The problems that face education, both the big and the small, are complex.
- The solutions to most problems are already being employed somewhere by someone (who very likely believes they aren’t doing anything special).
- There is room for lots of different answers.
I’ve loved being a teacher and working in education. But over the last year or so, I felt increasingly pulled to spend more time outside my classroom, supporting teachers in a broader way and finding places where things were going well and answers to the problems and struggles that teachers face. I wanted to use my time, my heart, and my experience to help teaching and teachers.
So, allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Tom Rademacher, and I am the acquisitions editor for professional resources for Free Spirit Publishing and Shell Education. I rather like the sound of that fancy title, but I identify more with how I’ve been explaining my new job to friends and family: I’m a book finder.
I’m searching for books that will make it easier for teachers to do this hard thing well. Books that focus on the kids we most often fail to teach, affirm, and protect. Books that recognize the complexity of a classroom and the people in it. Books with new ideas, new voices, new perspectives, and new strategies. Books with joy, inspiration, a love for what teachers do, and why we do it.
I’m looking for a whole lot more than books, though.
I’m looking for teachers, principals, and students who can reach out and tell me what they’ve been struggling with and what’s been bringing success. For feedback on what kinds of books are useful and what kind aren’t. For places where good conversations about schools and teaching are happening. For new perspectives, big answers for big problems, and the smaller answers that are working in your part of the world.
My job is to find books that need to be written and the people who should be writing them, to help authors sharpen their proposals and organize their ideas, to find voices that more teachers need to hear. Maybe that’s you. Maybe that’s someone who has helped you along the way. I’d love to talk.
For details about how to submit a book proposal to us, check out our submission guidelines on Submittable.
Tom Rademacher is the acquisitions editor for professional learning at Free Spirit Publishing and Shell Education. He’s on the lookout for new voices, fresh perspectives, and all the books he wished he had while he was teaching. You can reach him at Tom.Rademacher@tcmpub.com.
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