What are you Reading Today?
As a high school student, I used to read quite a bit. I visited the library regularly and read at least a book every month. My tastes were eclectic ranging from R.L Stine to Shakespeare. I enjoyed reading, and never really questioned why. In CEGEP and University, much of my reading time was taken up by academic literature, which didn't exactly ignite any sparks. When I started teaching, most of my reading consisted of my students' works. Although their work can be impressive, it wasn't challenging me. After having my first child eight years ago, I had stopped reading altogether. I was just too tired. I lacked focus and interest.
Then last year I remembered why I loved to read so much. Part of it is the ceremony of reading. The quiet, the cup of tea, the fuzzy slippers and sitting by the fire in the evening. But why anyone reads, especially fiction, is for the story. I want to be swept away. I want to get lost. Or found, depending on the story and its characters. I want to slip into someone else's shoes. I want to think, "hey, I never thought of it like that." I want to laugh out loud, and I want to cry. I want to keep it all to myself, or share it.
I was discussing literature with my principal at school, who is a former English teacher and good friend. Yeah, we do actually talk about books. Regularly. In any case, it was she who reminded me why I love to read so much. Stories are amazing. The details of the lives of fictional characters is enthralling. And I get to picture it all for myself. This is cliché, I know. But it is so positively true.
On rare nights when I don't have the time to read, I feel lost. I feel like I've forgotten something. My story! I need my dose of fiction.
This week, my students have been writing their exams. It's an ongoing exam, which takes several classes. I supervise them, but they are independent, can use their notes and are allowed to discuss with peers. I can pace the ailes, book in hand, reading between sparse questions from my students. It's a quiet time, and although I could be sitting at my laptop planning for next week, I like to let them see me enjoying a book. I finished a book on Tuesday and by the next day had read a hundred pages of a new book. One of my students noticed.
"Miss Beddia, what are you reading today?" She emphasized today with disbelief. I showed her the cover and let her read the back. The book is Will Grayson, Will Grayson" by John Green and David Levithan. She raised an eyebrow. "It must be good," she said, as she returned it to me. "Can I borrow it when you're done?"
YES! Mission accomplished. This particular student wants to be a doctor. Her math and science skills are at the top, but when she asked me what I thought she could do to be a more successful student, I suggest she read more. "Read more to write better to be a better student and be better at your job." I'm glad she's taking my advice. So, in the meantime, I suggested another book to her, and she started it right after her exam. I'll be finishing my novel tonight, I hope she is enjoying hers as much as I enjoy mine!