You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them. ---Ray Bradbury
I got four hours of sleep last night. I'm in no way complaining, actually. After working on lesson plans and this 20-page paper due in a couple of days, I found my mind still actively awake. I sat in my bed and read until I fell asleep. Currently, I am reading three books: The Life of Pi (for pleasure), This I Believe (giving me ideas for teaching a narrative), and In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Non-fiction (so I can find resources if I ever want to use them in a lesson). I woke up refreshed. And grateful that I had time to read, because it is one of my favorite things to do. I'm finding that even though I'm not getting as much sleep as I used to, I'm still functioning and I'm attributing that to the fact that I'm doing something I love in replacement of sleep. Plus, as long as I have a working coffeemaker, I think I'm set for the day.
This morning during plan period, my practicum partner and I both were joking around, sharing how little sleep we had last night. I mentioned how much I was enjoying what I was reading, when my CT perked up from her desk and said, "You'll find that you have to put reading on the back burner once you actually start teaching."
What do I say to this? If anything, shouldn't I be reading and writing more? The Nebraska Writing Project says, "The best teachers of writing are writers themselves." I think that's true of reading also. Granted, I do not have a classroom, so I do not fully understand the demands. But to give you a perspective, dear reader, during our planning period the other day, my CT dinked around on her iPod Touch and downloaded apps while my partner and I were grading. My CT reminds me of teachers I had who were obviously burned out, or complacent with where they were. It is my mission to NEVER be that teacher. If not for myself, isn't reading and writing for the students? I want to be that teacher who slips kids books and can dialogue with them about what they think. I want to give the best feedback on their writing.
In TEAC 452N we have been discussing the importance of classroom culture. Don't reading and writing in an English class constitute a major part of the English classroom culture? Taking out the books and the pen and paper destroy what English is. It creates indifference, it destroys potential. At first, I was silently enraged by her notion, and then I thought about it on the way home. I won't let myself be that person. If anything, that CT's comment is what is fueling me all the more. Reading and Writing for further development as a professional and for my classroom is not just an interest or a goal, it is a major priority, and I will make sure that it stays that way.