Then I started reading my students dialogue journals and I got it that they were getting it. We are reading 'The Fallen' from the Bluford series. When I was first introduced to the books I was not a fan. I wanted my students to read more than what I saw as hood stories but I gave the books a chance.
One thing I always want my students to do is connect with the character(s), feel the story and engage me and their peers in conversation when reading a novel. I want them to do more than answer a multiple choice question. To enhance our time reading in our literature circle, we started dialogue journals. As I read today the personal stories they trusted me enough to share from the heart, I realized in that moment what I do is effective. My students were learning about trust, making choices, the reality of gangs. They saw a teacher who cared about his students and exposed them to Shakespeare. Theme after theme came alive & they connected. It dawned on me it is the adults who mostly devalue what I do.
This truth saddens me but it doesn't define the type of educator I'll be despite the way noneducators & the media degrade my profession. So I head back tomorrow, ready to use literature to speak to the minds & hearts of my 8th grade babies. I return to Room 216 with GOD inspired ideas. Maybe even with $2 for a different kid who doesn't have lunch money. I'm there tomorrow for a mom who has spoken to me privately and asked that I mentor her daughter.
I ask that you please don't forget to thank your child's/children's(s) teacher. He or she might need to be reminded they are appreciated.
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