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This time of year is always a little bittersweet for me. I love spending time with my two children, going to the beach, staying up late, reading books together whenever the urge strikes, unhampered by homework or papers that need correcting. The dishes can sit in the sink until the next morning because we have to play one last game of flashlight tag before bed. Yet it also brings great excitement and anticipation, the entry of twenty or so new children into the next ten months of my life. And of course 2008 is no exception.

I have spent the better part of my summer reading, but mostly writing and reflecting as I haven’t done in quite a while. That is all thanks to a two day conference and and an ability to publish my thoughts and ideas. While my entries are not many…yet…not all of my writing is online. The point is, when I found something that was meaningful enough to pursue and a tool that gave me a voice beyond myself, I could not help but immerse myself in every aspect. This mindful pursuit and thirst for more knowledge is what I hope and aspire to for each of my students this year.

One of my colleagues had the rare opportunity to participate in mindful pursuit of knowledge at The Teacher’s College this past summer. When sharing her incredible experience with us this past week, she made mention of how read alouds were done. The teacher reads and thinks aloud and no one interrupts. This struck me as odd. Isn’t reading a form of communication? Don’t we need interaction to boost comprehension? My colleague said that she felt the same way, until she realized that through “turn and talk” there was lots of interaction…just not with the teacher. Had I not heard this and been forced to look at it in that way, at that particular moment, my thinking and therefore my educational practice would remain unchanged. However, as serendipity would have it, I have been thinking all summer about real conversation, in a larger arena than a single classroom, and rereading To Understand by Ellin Oliver Keene this past week. 

I do not want my students simply regurgitating answers to a text chosen by someone else and learning vocabulary words out of context. I want them to have conversations with each other and their peers who may not necessarily be in the same physical space without it flowing through me first. I want them to think and feel deeply, to remember, and to take action for causes of their choosing. I want them to know that they can have access to teachers that are experts in every field, and that these teachers come in all shapes and sizes and ages. And perhaps most importantly, I want them to know that they, too, can be teachers.

Happy School Year 2008-2009 to all educators, who I know are thinking and wishing these exact same things for their students!

August 2019
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