I can’t tell if I am more nervous or excited as the semester marches on. I am almost halfway done, halfway to being a half-way teacher. The closer it gets, the more real it becomes. I no longer “want” to be a teacher, I am going to be a teacher. In class, I have been working on projecting units, visions and values to act as the backbone of my classroom. Suddenly, I am concerned about where I am going to put my desk in the classroom or which software to use for student publishing. I can promise you, my mind has never entertained thoughts such as these until now.
In the shuffle of year-long planning, I cannot forget the focus of it all; the students. My classes will need a classroom library, colorful notebooks, and a picture book every now and then, but more importantly, they will need me. This week in class, Dr. E. passed out a quote from a seventeen-year-old student, as recorded by his therapist:
“When I asked his favorite subject, he said, “Doesn’t matter. I hate history but I love Mr. Hodges’ [history] class. He gets so excited about the War of 1812 and Reconstruction and the stock market going bust that you get caught up in it…. And he knows what it’s like to be me.””
– Chris Crutcher
Here is proof students learn best from people they can relate to. Teachers don’t, and shouldn’t, pretend to be experts or untouchable resources. Teachers should be students’ biggest fan. I need let my passion for reading and words flow into my lessons. My energy and personality can (hopefully) capture attention, and hold it, seeping into their thoughts and writing. I will strive to be the kind of person students can learn from. I will be responsible for letting my classes know I am not above them, I am there to guide them through their learning.
In the spirit of becoming someone a leader students can relate to, I have been working on my own independent reading, too. Last week I hoped out of my comfort zone and onto the graphic novel bandwagon. I read “Peanut” by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe, the story of Sadie, who fakes a peanut allergy for attention when she moves to a new school. Eventually, her lie invades every aspect of her life and spirals out of control. I have never been the “new kid” or told a whopper this big, know that anxious, second-hand embarrassed feeling you get when something awkward happens near you? I experienced that for about ten pages near the end and could not put it down.
Now I just need to start making a list of the books I read so I can remember them all when my future students ask!
Media courtesy of Creative Commons