What Would You Say
I got a great birthday gift today from Fountain (yes, I gave her crap because it was late. And she thinks I'm getting old!). She's my former school roommate, for those of you who aren't familiar with her or our relationship. She gave me a plaque for my desk that says, "Flying Monkeys. I have them. Not afraid to use them." I am huge Wizard of Oz/Wicked fan and have a similar sign hanging in the front of my room. Anyway, she also gave me "Questions and Answers; A Five Year Journal". She knows me so well. A question I found glancing through it prompted this post.
"What do you want to say when someone asks, "What do you do" ?
I find books for teenagers who proudly proclaim they hate to read and have never finished a book. I make them admit that maybe, just maybe, they haven't ever found the right book. And that maybe, just maybe, they didn't give reading a fair chance. And I give them choice.
I give students a place to write freely. A place to write about whatever they want without fear of censorship. I encourage them to write about the hard things in their lives. I celebrate when they write something fabulous. I share with them my own writing struggles so they know it happens to everyone. And I give them choice.
I take a class terrified to speak in front of the rest and create an environment of safety and comfort. I let them tell stories about their lives, share their passions, and discover new ones. I give them a place to have fun and enjoy themselves, all the while making them better speakers and learners. And I give them choice.
I make students whine, "This is hard" and smile when they say it. Then I cheer when they do it well.
I believe in their dreams of the future.
I encourage their creativity and their thinking. I may argue with them, but I don't tell them they are wrong.
I stand up for those who have no one in their corner.
I hover over those who need it.
I yell at a few too.
I love them.
I inspire teenagers to Read, Write, Speak, Think and Dream.
What do you do?
And just in case you haven't seen or heard this...and even if you have, "What Teachers Make"