As a working mom in this modern world, I have to battle the realities of the 21st century. It’s hard, but I work hard to ensure my daughter grows up to be an amazing person.
In addition, I am a teacher battling the same realities. The combat is much harder because I have less control in the classroom. I’m not just a teacher, I am a middle school reading teacher. Not an easy job in our modern world. I am not a typical reading teacher. I was not an avid reader as a child or growing up. I wasn’t a struggling reader; I just did have a passion for it. So how did I become a teacher of literature? It was by accident. I taught another subject but wanted to switch grade levels and the position that was available was to teach reading.
Since I have taken over the subject, my passion for it was born. I love teaching it! One of the realities of teaching is that it is partly an acting job and sales job. There is a lot of entertaining and convincing and selling. Over the years I have become a great saleslady. When I begin a new unit, I hype up the books we read. I tell my students how diligent I am at finding books that will appeal to them, which I really do. I search high and low to find books of varying reading levels to interest all kinds of readers in my class. I sell the books to them. 12/13 year olds don’t really care about reading, analyzing, and enjoying literature. But this is where the sales come in. I have to convince them, that the books I have are the best they will ever read. I hype up the books at the beginning of a unit. I tell them which ones are my favorites. I guide the reluctant readers to books I know will peak their interests. I lay it on thick.
When I tell my students that I did not like reading or school when I was their age, they are shocked. They cannot believe when I tell them I never made the honor roll. “But why did you become a reading teacher?” I became a reading teacher because when I was their age, there weren’t the multitude of books for kids like there are now. None of my teachers ever talked about books they way I do to my students.
My payments have made me rich! This year alone I have had so many students write in their reading responses to me about how much they love the books they have read this year. They have thanked me for the books this year. Kids who never liked reading before, now love it and cheer when we have silent reading time. One boy told me a story of how his parents were shocked to see him reading a book at home instead of playing his video game.
I do nothing extraordinary. I merely provide an environment rich with books and advertise how great the stories are. They can’t help but buy it.