Yesterday I finished reading Punkzilla by Adam Rapp. It was really good. (If I can gather the motivation I will write a review … later. If I can’t, then you should just read it, it is good.)

After finishing one book I promptly started another (the joys of Sunday afternoon), By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters.

There is nothing wrong with this except that I have a stack of books next to my bed that I need to read for school. They are books that I (think I) want to use in the classroom but, obviously, have to read first. They are all books that I am excited about reading, but somehow when I have to read them it becomes not so fun. This is a lesson that I should take with me into the classroom. I am sure that students feel the same way when assigned a book, regardless of whether or not they want to read it. This makes me question my role as an educator … Is it my job to guide students into a reading life or is it my role to guide students to specific literature (i.e. the classics, the canon, etc…)?

Lately I have been of the first camp. My primary goal is to help students discover the joys and payoffs of reading. Once I have overcome this obstacle then I can help them dive deeper into the world of literature with its many genres and authors, both new and old.

This is far more philosophical than I meant to get tonight. I have work to do, motivation to find, and sleep to get.

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2 Responses to Motivation

  1. christina says:

    Hey Nathan!

    I struggle with the same questions ALL THE TIME. (It doesn’t help that I teach Level 1 readers, who in my opinion, are reluctant readers because it’s SUCH a struggle for them – fluency & comprehension, oh my!).

    I’ve tried a handful of solutions but am still on the look out. For the past couple of years I’ve crunched my curriculum in four days to allow for every Friday to be independent reading. I’ve always had set rules for independent reading, but think I might throw out all of the rules next year as well. It’s always a learning process, you know?

    I picked up By The Time You Read This…I ADORE Julie Anne Peters.


  2. Many of us struggle with this same thing. It’s almost like being forced as a child to eat your vegetables because they are good for you. There was little chance we would choose those over junk food given the choice. But what do we choose to eat today? Did it work?

    If the “classic” text is going to be a struggle, I often ask myself what it is I want students to learn from the text and if they can get the same thing out of something more relevant and engaging. Are we reading it so the parents are satisfied that their kids are getting a “proper” education? If so, I need to be prepared for the parent questions I receive about the unknown text. Since I teach at an all-male high school, most of the parents are extremely excited when they see their sons engaged in most any type of reading.

    For me, it’s the discussion and ideas that are generated by the reading that is important to my students. If they come away debating those ideas it is the beginning of a successful lesson. And then, many years from now when I have their kids in my class, they may ask me if it will be the same ideas and discussions that will be the experience, not the text.

    Thanks for generating this discussion!

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