Teaching circular motion is just awful. That is, it is awful if you haven’t built a foundation of kinematics rooted in vectors quantities. How can you possibly interpret a centripetal acceleration of 4 m/s/s? What does that 4 mean?
Today is the first day all semester I’ve had to say to my students, “This makes no sense and right now we have no tools for making sense of it.”
Bummer. Are you at liberty to talk about the politics behind the home-grown text you use (or do you even know)? That seems to be the root of a lot of the frustrations you document here.