Why It’s So Important to Introduce Students to Ayn Rand — A Teacher’s Perspective

Maria Asvos has been an English teacher in the Chicago area for seventeen years. She has participated in ARI’s Free Books to Teachers and essay contest programs for fifteen of those years. Here she explains why.

“As a teacher, I’m always looking for what I can do better in the classroom to help set my students up for success,” Maria says. “Bringing Ayn Rand’s Anthem into my curriculum is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I believe my students should read Anthem since all of Rand’s philosophy is right there, and the ideas in the book are so powerful.”

Maria has included the novel in her classroom curriculum for seventh- and eighth-grade gifted students, all the way up to high school seniors. Not only does she have her students read the novel, Maria has them explore the ideas further by writing an essay for ARI’s annual Anthem essay contest. In recent years, Maria has started ordering Rand’s nonfiction books, specifically Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Students are expected to read the book in conjunction with a research project on a business.

“I have quite a few students who have started businesses already or who are working full time,” she says. “This project is tremendously valuable in helping them learn more about business and capitalism—to understand the practices of some of today’s leading companies.”

Maria’s involvement with ARI isn’t limited to the free books and essay contest programs. In 2012 she attended a workshop led by Shoshana Milgram, where she explored language and meaning and its relationship to Rand’s philosophy. In 2014 Maria was a guest speaker at ARI’s annual Atlas Shrugged Revolution dinner in Chicago, where she and one of her students described the impact that Rand’s ideas have had on their lives. And in 2015, Maria traveled to the University of Maryland to participate in the first Enterprise Through Literature workshop. The workshop provided a platform for educators to incorporate themes of enterprise and markets into their curricula and included several guest speakers. Maria calls it “a fantastic experience on so many levels.” 

“Ayn Rand has had a tremendous impact on my life,” Maria continues. “I want to share that gift with others. I’m always telling teachers, students and anyone who comes my way ‘you have to read Ayn Rand.’”

ARI is able to put Rand’s books in the hands of educators like Maria because of the support we receive from donors.  Your donation today will go directly to educational programs to help bring Rand’s powerful ideas into more classrooms across the country.