My biggest fear as an educator is to become complacent in my practice. I abhor the idea of getting stuck in a cycle of doing the same things monotonously. Of becoming ineffective. Everything we do should be centered around growing capacity in the people around us and ourselves.It is easy to become stagnant. It is so easy that we sometimes don’t know it’s happening.
To that end, and the approaching end of the school year, I propose something radical. Something crazy. Something revolutionary, even. I say toss your binders. Get rid of you pet or passion literary projects. Let the calendar from previous years fly to the recycling bin. Be like Elsa and let it go.
I hear the cries of, “oh, but the children LOVE when we read …”.
The children love the passion YOU have when you read … . This is a huge differentiation. Instead, develop a passion for your students to be the literary experts in your classroom. To combat backsliding, we must be willing to hand over the expertise.
I have the firm belief that most of us in education, especially reading and literary studies, are all truly talented actors and actresses. We play a part on the daily and when that comfortable and beloved role/story/unit comes back around to us each year we are ready for our time in the spotlight. It can come in the form of Anne Frank units, Ray Bradbury short stories or Robert Frost poetry jams. A drama unit for which we have costumes. A study that has everything prepared so worksheets are on the ready. An activity that is fun but has no read educational value.
It is important that we don’t teach the same year over and over again. We must restart each year, each unit. Reuse what works wonderfully but tweak it for your new crop of students.
One way to stay fresh is to constantly search out new materials. Keep your eye to the news for relevant items to enhance learning. We in education are part of a very human industry.
Ultimately, be willing to start new every year.