Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The cookie says, "For the love of reading," and the photograph is of cupid struck dead with an arrow. That was thematic for my Valentine's day.

I treated my readers to sweets because my class was not canceled and I wanted to bring love into the mix somewhere.

Actually, I loved that Dr. Kevin Roxas of Wyoming skyped our class and talked to us about his work with refugee youth, their families, and schools. He talked about innovating administration who is reshaping their schools by finding ways to bring medical assistance through a traveling office to her students and also how she has started tutoring programs for parents. He addressed ways teachers could be more sensitive to the global needs of changing demographics and what our responsibilities should be to them.

And I loved working with a local high school to score their junior portfolios, recognizing that it is the vision of dedicated teachers and faculty that is keeping writing alive in their schools. It is not necessarily an expectation of state assessments, but it is a requirement for their graduates. They have taught me that teachers can do what is best for kids by defining their own terms. As a result, graduates of their school are better prepared for a future of written communication

I love reading, too, but I am growing more and more cautious of the emphasis on literature in English classrooms. I channel my 11th grade English teacher who listed the 160 books a high school student should have read before graduating and I am thinks, psshhhttt. Why? I think literature is brilliant and good, but I worry when we put a hierarchy onto it as superior. In some ways, this practice establishes divisions, elitism, and esoteric egos. Not my gig. Instead, I will continue to fight for the love of reading and writing on youth terms.

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