Then, one morning, I woke up and it was school again. Not the full day in the classroom with kids and meetings, but the wake up and be ready. Ready to read, respond and connect. This is the way we slide into the new year: professional development. A quarter of a century into this teaching gig, I'm still leaning how to help kids learn how to read. And write. And respond.
It came with a dream about a flat tire on my bike. Trying to get to school by pushing my bike over hill and dale immediately puts me behind what I know will be a hectic day. This year I didn't have to jump on my bike and go anywhere beyond my laptop where the new curriculum was bein unveiled for us to see. Hundreds of us on the call, watching and listening as the reading revolution continues.
And somewhere in the pit of my stomach, I feel that creeping anxiety that I might accidentally teach kids wrong. This feeling goes away somewhat abruptly once the scholastic ship has sailed, but it is during this leadup time that I fret about giving students the wrong path to take them on the lifelong love of reading. What if what I do to these kids kills that sense of wonder?
That would be worse than a flat tire.
How can I deliver the joy I experienced sitting in the corner of Miss Stuart's fourth grade classroom, curled up with Charlotte's Web? Or the way I plowed through the entire World War II section of the Columbine Elementary library all those years ago? I'm still reading. Not just for learning. For fun.
Which brings me back to my bike. There was a time when riding my bike was for amusement. Now it's for exercise. And commuting. The joy doesn't always find its way into those trips to and from school. With or without a flat tire. It sometimes makes my family sad that we don't have bike rides together as adventures. I would hate to think that kids would start to feel this way about reading. Books as chores. Sadly, there is something wickedly connected to leaving the comfort of your nice warm bed, prying your eyes open and staggering to that place where books await. Full of expectations and people with expectations.
Teachers, mostly. The ones who want to teach you how to read. How could that dynamic possibly go wrong?
Summer's over. Back to work.