Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Question #2: Write about your reading moments, the good,the bad, and the ugly.

THE GOOD: In the fourth grade my teacher placed us in Reading groups and I went next door for reading. Next door was Mrs. Grimes 5th grade. She was the best! She read each day a chapter from "The Boxcar Children." Each day I anticipated, "what will happen to the orphans?" I loved being there. It was like reading at home. My 9th grade year I was in honors English, it was full of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and To Kill a Mockingbird. We read, took a test. Read, took a test. Notice no TALKING! I got placed in Regular English in the 10th grade. After 6 weeks of proving myself my teacher said it was too late to place me in honors English but wanted to enrich me. She said, "Do you enjoy reading?" (Do I like breathing, chocolate, and coffee?) She allowed me to read, really great books and then do reports for my grade- A+. I read really great classics: The Grapes of Wrath, A Farewell to Arms, Of Mice and Men, and she even introduced me to Sinclair! We even read To Kill A Mockingbird again and then we talked about its great high points. We discussed the texts. I would write a report in various writing forms. I was placed in honors English from there forward.
THE BAD- Not being in a high reading group at school really hurt. How does an elementary school kid find out they are not in a high group? I can remember reading when work was finished. I remember sitting at my desk, in rows, working in my workbook. I'm bored just writing about it.
THE UGLY- I was placed in a 3/4 split in the 3rd grade and a 4/5 split in the 5th grade. I had the same teacher both times. Mrs. Hall was 74 when I had her the first time and 76 when I had her the second time. She was OLD SCHOOL. We sat in rows. We answered standing up by our chairs. We worked constantly and were allowed 1 library book for the week. Here is the kicker, we weren't allowed to read during class. (even if we were finished with our work!) We finished our work and were allowed to sit quietly. One day I pulled out my Social Studies book, the one we never read out of. Here is that conversation:
T= Put your library book away.
S= It's not a library book.
T= It must be because I didn't ask you to read out of it. You are to be sitting quietly.
S= You gave me this book. (At this point I had gone beyond disrespect)
T= Don't mouth off to me, out inthe hall!
Reading in this room definetly unpleasant, and I had two years of it!!!!!

Tomorrow: Question #3 How does this change my teaching of reading?


Jen Barney said...

You got me thinking about my past teachers.... I think I was juked! I can't blame them I guess, it was old school teaching. But sad none the less- I guess we were lucky to have a home that provided opportunities for us to read and enjoy it. However, today do you think it still is the same in a sad sorted way? Good thoughts Sarah-

Sarah Amick said...

Oh, yeah, S. and I were discussing how I look on my students that don't have much prior knowledge coming in... they want us to close this gap but the students get to a point where they think I can't catch up. Their so far ahead and I am tired of trying. We have to get them earlier than grade school. It has to be environmental.
As for the teachers? We have to argue for creating environments that foster educational growth. The first is the absence of threat, and then allowance for mistakes, and training in a mentoring sort of capacity. Your mother was a mentor. She fostered that in your home. We have to create that for 6 hours a day.