Sunday, June 7, 2009


Back in teacher school (you know, a year ago) they liked to get us to do these self-examining things: "Why I Am Becoming A Teacher" in 500 words or less (the program is very big into inquiry. Inquiry is good. We love inquiry. See how well it worked?). One of the things I said, if I recall correctly, was that English is a subject I love with a passion: if I could get one other person in the world to love it too, then my work would be worthwhile. All we want, after all, is to do work that is meaningful - what could be more meaningful than getting kids to love books?

Even as I was writing that piece, though, I was thinking to myself yeah right. Every teacher thinks this. Everyone wants to do good but most people just don't. This is not one of those cheesy teacher movies. Don't get your hopes up.

But then the other day one of my students came up to me and said "I'm tired today, and it's your fault."

"Really?" I said, wondering where this was going. It wouldn't be the first time I've been blamed for something, actually. Junior high kids are really good at trying to convince you that their problems are in fact yours.

"Yes," she said emphatically. "I never used to read before, but you got me into it and last night I couldn't put my book down and go to sleep. I love this book and it's your fault."

This is what I have to show for myself as I approach the end of my first year as a teacher. I made someone love books. I couldn't be more pleased.

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