I was having a discussion with my colleague about teaching in general and we ended up discussing textbooks. She suggested that next year I use the book for Algebra 2 because it is closer to college level mathematics and students need to be prepared for that.
Then I spoke with a teacher that works with the hearing impaired who has been in my class at least one day a week throughout the year. Her opinion was that the worksheets and activities we do equal to or surpass the work found in textbooks. She said that the notes we do in class are fit more to student needs and add visual context rather than the canned curriculum of a textbook.
Both teachers have far more experience than me and both agree that there should be a balance, no all or nothing.
I think I don't know how to use a textbook.
As a teacher, I use the book as a problem bank, a guide for sequencing lessons, and in geometry I steal the diagrams and drawings because an artist, I am not.
For my students, we really only used the book to look up definitions or formulas in class.
Am I hurting my students by not using the textbook?
How am I supposed to use the textbook for their benefit? What is the difference in them taking notes from a book or notes from a Powerpoint or notes from a discussion? Is it not still reading, writing, and listening?
Am I supposed to have them just take notes and teach themselves from the book? I'm not saying there is no value in textbooks, I'm saying I haven't found a values that's worth using them for.
I enjoy creating lessons. It puts me in the mindset of a student and helps me think through possible questions and confusion that students may encounter. I use the book and my standards at the beginning of the year to create a pacing guide and priority standards to tell me what to teach. Then I search the Internet, blogs, and Twitter for ideas on 'how' to teach those concepts. Honestly, I don't see how a textbook can add to the rich resources I'm currently using. I don't know how using a textbook will improve my teaching or my students' learning.
So convince me. Why and how should I use a textbook?