Just three days ago I completed my editorial internship with Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). I worked with editors and designers in their publishing services department as well as their textbook development and publishing arm, Purposeful Design Publications.
I got to practice editing articles and getting feedback from an editor with years of experience in the field. We developed a little system where he would send me an article, I would go through it at least 2–3 times, thoroughly editing it, then after I sent it back to him, he would compare it with the original, then meet with me to discuss my editorial decisions. Needless to say, I had a great time working on the Christian School Education magazine.
I also got to see the huge process of textbook development, particularly revisions of elementary math curriculum. The process if huge, and there are so many things that need to be tracked, checked, and double checked. Just a few weeks in, I realized why textbooks cost so much—the work involved to get an accurate, helpful, and user-friendly textbook is enormous.
Here’s a list of some of the things I helped with on the textbooks:
- Checking to make sure that the answers listed for the exercises are correct
- Checking to make sure that the answers listed in the Teacher Edition matches what exercises are actually listed in the Student Edition
- Checking and documenting research for all uncommon facts listed in the textbooks
- Checking that lesson titles are the same in the Student Edition and Teacher Edition
- Checking that titles of supplemental materials have also stayed the same
- Checking that the Teacher Edition adheres to the textbook style guide, including
- Sidebars have correct titles
- Sidebars are in correct order
- Sidebars are correct length
- Chapter prep page materials match lesson pages
- Font roman, italicized, or bold
- Font size, color
- Wording, such as “instruct students” vs. “direct students”
That’s nowhere close to everything that is checked, but you get an idea of the detail involved in this process. Additionally, each chapter goes through three heavy edits. Textbook editors are busy and concerned with a number of small details that make it easier for both the teacher and the student.
I did a bunch of other stuff during the internship, but there’s at least a taste of some of the stuff I got to do during my 40 hours/week internship with ACSI. It was hard to be indoors during the summer, but the valuable time I spent working with editors and learning from them was it well worth it.