|image from icanread|
I am standing in the book store staring at all of the books I want to read and bring into my classroom when a boy’s voice cuts through my thoughts, “Dad, can I get this book? Mr. Wischer says it is one of his favorites…” I immediately begin to smile as I poke my head over the shelf, you see, Mr. Wichser happens to be my 5th grade colleague, a brand new teacher, and obviously an influencer of book choices. The dad agrees and the student happily leaves the kid section, excited to read his new book.
I share the story with Brandon and once again look at my own pile of books eager to get home and get them read so that I can place them into the hands of my students. What I read matters, I know this because my students have told me so when they ask me for another book recommendation. At the moment they rely more on me than each other and this year I am finally up for that challenge as I consume more books than I ever have.
And yet, I don’t see many teachers discuss the books they are reading at the moment. I know we are so busy as teachers, I know we all have so much to implement and do, I know we have lives of our own. But where is the shared passion for reading? Where are the book recommendations for our classrooms? Are we too busy to read or are we too busy to recommend?
It leads to my final thoughts which I have no answer for; should we mandate that teachers of reading be passionate readers? Or at the very least stay on top of the current books appropriate and engaging for our grade level? Can we go so far as to demand teachers who teach reading to actually read?
It seems that if you are a middle school teacher in a certain topic you are passionate about that topic. After all, why would you ever sign up to teach math if you hated it? But at the elementary level we don’t have to be passionate about it all or so it seems. We can pick and choose about what we would love to teach and then hope we mask it well enough so that students don’t pick up on our own disdain. We don’t have to like math or science and we don’t have to have read the books that line our classroom walls. But it that ok? Can we truly teach a passion for reading if we do not have it ourselves?