I went home over break and, of course, spent a good chunk of time with Tyler. We got to talking about me being a teacher by way of discussing my fears, teachers I strongly disapprove of, and if I will survive.
My biggest goal as a teacher is to have my students leave my classroom as readers and writers. From all the articles/authors we have been reading for this class, I hardly expect it to be easy. It might not be easy, but it’s not impossible.
By doing things like writing workshops, literature circles, and “read arounds,” my students will write as writers and read as readers. They will be writing for an audience, not a standard. They will be reading for pleasure, not “end of the chapter quizzes.”
Just by implementing this mindset in our classroom, we will create an environment that welcomes students to challenge themselves and others as writers, readers, and listeners. This relates to our discussion of social justice in class last week. Social justice topics can be (and will be) iffy, rough around the edges, awkward, risky, eye-opening, etc. But in a classroom where students are constantly reading their work, sharing their thoughts, and working together, these topics are manageable.
A lot of schools and administrations have the belief that social justice topics (race, sexuality, freedom, etc.) don’t belong in schools. They think it is taboo and should be swept under the rug; if they don’t hear, see, or read about it, it therefore does not exist. It’s like the schools that take out “sexual education” because it instills the idea of sex into middle schoolers and high schoolers brains. Well, truth is, our middle school and high school students are curious about sex and gay people and terrorism or whatever else. So instead of promoting ignorance by ignoring these huge issues, we should help them to understand by letting them discover and expand on these issues in a controlled classroom setting.
I’m glad this methods class has forced me to change my perspective on education. And yes, I use the word “force” because, lezbehonest, I didn’t think this way before this class. I just figured I’d go out and teach the way I was taught because it was a safety net/safety zone. I thought it worked. I mean, it resulted in me wanting to be an English teacher. So why change? But it didn’t work to its full potential, so it’s time to change. I will hopefully be that change.