Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Giving in to Frustration

I haven't posted in a while... frustrating!
Last year I was invited to join a group of online book reviewers, and bloggers through Stenhouse Publishing. I joined wholeheartedly because I love to read and further myself professionally. I did pretty well for a time, reading and posting about what I was reading. I even joined the group to do some online discussing. Then, frustration took over. As I was reading, in the back of my mind I would be thinking, "this sounds wonderful, this would help my students tremendously, I can't wait to try this!"
But, also in my mind I heard, "This doesnt' follow my corporations curriculum, can I teach this and the curriculum with fidelity? (that's my corporations favorite word this year). Then why read? Oh, it's interesting, and I know it is well reseached, and would help my students tremendously with student achievement. But, it's not the basal, it's not what my corporation expects me to teach, with fidelity.
How do we as educators continue to press further? How do we swallow this educational "reform" and still want to teach? My biggest fear is that reform will be passed but at the end of it all it will not help children in any way become lifelong readers. I don't want to teach this way, I want to teach that books are so interesting that you can't put them down. I want them to know that I receive books from a publishing company to read so that I can make myself better, and because I love reading! I choose to be a reader, everyday! I want that to be my focus for children, and then if they have that love of books, the strategies, and the Venn diagrams, and the compare and contrast the characters, and the transperancies will make sense to them. I don't want to teach from a basal, I want to put real books into the hands of children who have never held the promise of a book.
Frustration took over, and it wilted me and my love for teaching, for a little while. Then I got back to my basics, I picked up books for enjoyment. I read, and read, and read. I discussed them with whoever would listen. They weren't the books from the publisher, they weren't books that I was forced to read, they were books that I wanted to read. I let them replenish me, take me away to places I had never been, and they taught me about myself as a reader. Things I wanted my students to discover about themselves.
Now I am ready, I have a whole stack of books to last me the summer. Ah, sweet summer! I'll be poolside with lots of books in hand, reading, blogging, and gathering myself for next year. I will still be met with "teaching the curriculum with fidelity." I will, but I am also going to sneak in some love of books. I'm going to make sure that frustration does not settle in and destroy my love for books, and teaching. I'll be ready, I just need the summer.