It has only been two weeks, and this class, Special Methods, has already transformed my entire idea of a classroom. I was so nervous to become a literature teacher because I assumed standards and obligations would require me to teach the same boring texts over and over again. I am sorry Hester Prynne, but… NO ONE CARES!! There comes a time in literature when we need to look at the classics, but the focus should be more on the student’s growth and development rather than looking at overrated and over studied texts such as The Scarlet Letter or Romeo and Juliet. Don’t get me wrong…I loved Romeo and Juliet, but not every student is going to have that passion. Therefore, we need to ignite that light in each and every one of our students. We hold precious lives and minds on our hands…do we really want to fill those minds with standards and classics. What if we decided instead to fill their minds with creativity and passion. While structured, I believe that students need to recognize their own passions and dreams and build on them. I believe in grades, and structure, and work ethic, but I also know the power of free writing and reading as it has transformed my life first hand.
When it comes to reading and writing, my life is simple. I like books about romance, mystery, and discovery, and I write about really anything that is in my head. But, my school experience was never like that. We read boring books about boring topics that no student wants to read. Over and over again, we were taught that literature was Shakespeare and Mark Twain…and all other books were full of uneducated and gaudy ideas. But the truth is…education is in reading, not the materials. Most students, myself included mastered navigation around SparkNotes, and CliffsNotes because no one really wants to read Great Expectations. What if we made a pact to look over the “classics” but focus on self-growth in reading a writing through free write and reading time. And what if instead of having students write book summaries and pointless articles on characters, we focused on developing a love for reading and sharing what the students have accomplished? By doing this, we establish ourselves as teachers of reading and writing and not teachers of already written works. And that is an education I could be proud of.