Not Sick of it Yet, Kid.

“Aren’t you sick of being here?” she asked me.  School hadn’t even started yet, but she managed to get into the building for the new student event and was making the rounds with the rest of her classmate-pack.
“Sick of being here? In Jakarta? I just got here four days ago!”  I knew she wasn’t talking about Indonesia, but I wanted her to show her cards and say what she really meant.
“No, Miss, aren’t you sick of being a teacher?”  I laughed at her — good-naturedly, I hope.
“No,” I replied.  “Of course not.”

I played it off, because students need to know that we teachers aren’t sick of them.  When teachers are sick of students, they shouldn’t be teachers anymore.   I know some teachers get burned out from the pressure of tests and the long hours and the endless grading.  And, while those things are the truth and deserve to be understood, my student standing in front of me didn’t want me to tell her that two-fifths of teachers quit within the first five years.  She wanted to know I wasn’t sick of her.
This year in my introduction PowerPoint, I listed reasons why I was a teacher. The PowerPoint read:
“I love books.
I love learning.
I love stories, and I think that stories are powerful because they can teach us new things about who we are, who other people are, and the world we live in.”
How could I be sick of that?
The first days of school are hard.  It’s hard to have new students who don’t know me, who still ask me to go to the bathroom instead of just taking the pass, and who don’t understand my very real need to constantly be drinking  coffee.  But it all builds towards something– learning.
And books.

Learning and books– few things are better than that!

New requirements in the American standards insist that books aren’t important; novels can be appreciated in small, dissected chunks.  This is not true.

Stories are important.  Your story is important.  My story is important.

The story of Ponyboy, who is searching for a bridge between who society says he is and who he wants to be.  The story of Radhika, who moves to Kathmandu to work and send money to her family, but finds herself trafficked. The story of Henry, whose best friend is swept away into a Japanese internment camp during World War II. The story of Stargirl, who brings out the best in herself and, sometimes, the worst in others.

I am blessed to be in a school with coworkers who believe in books like I believe in books.

And I am not sick of that yet.

Everyone has a story.

Everyone has a story.


6 thoughts on “Not Sick of it Yet, Kid.

  1. I too agree that books are meant to be read in whole and not in dissected chunks! This is something that I have been struggling with as an education major. I am currently student teaching at a middle school in an English classroom. It has been hard for me to make this transition as a student teacher, but also from the transition of reading paper texts to reading texts online. If you have any suggestions on texts or activities for middle school English students I’d love to hear them!

    • Maggie,
      The Middle School life isn’t easy! I would love to help you out and pass along some resources if you are looking for short stories, which are a good way to slide into shorter texts that still have some of the literary punch a novel would.
      What kind of activities are you looking for? Grammar? Writing? Note taking? Narrative?

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