Saturday, April 14, 2012

One of the (Many) Reasons I Love My Job

I love my job. One of my favorite things, though, is watching students turn into real readers. By "real readers," I mean that they don't just read the books they are made to read, but they choose books and love them. I want my students to love reading.

The fifth graders at our school are lucky, in my opinion, that all the reading teachers in our grade level encourage free choice reading. Students get a lot of time to read every week, and we set high goals for them. Our students have a goal of reading forty books of their personal choosing this year, and many of them have already exceeded this goal. Most of the students are very close to this goal. We know that a few students won't reach forty, but the main point is that ALL of our students are reading far more this year than any year they've read in school.

Let me share one of my favorite things that has happened to me all year. It happened this past Friday. I have two boys in my class who are, shall we say, 100% boy. They are very active. However, they have LOVED reading this year, and I have been blessed to witness this and facilitate it as well.

Students were having their independent reading time, and I just sat back to observe on this particular day. Student #1 was reading At the Edge: Daring Acts in Desperate Times by Larry Verstraete. I overheard student #1 turn to student #2 and say, "Dude, this book is AWESOME!"

Student #2 looks up from his book and says, "Man, I told you so. I knew you'd like it." (This, in and of itself, made my heart do cartwheels. If you could just see these boys! *sigh...)

Student #1 continues, "Yeah, it reminds me of that other book I just finished, Peak."

Student #2: "By Roland Smith? Yeah, I read his other series, you know, Storm Runners."

Student #1: "Aren't there three books in that series? Mrs. Thompson just showed us two of them, right?"

Student #2: "Yeah, but the first one's missing. Someone checked it out from her last year but never returned it, remember?"

The conversation continued a little longer. I almost cried, sitting in my chair in the back of the room. I don't encourage students to talk during reading time unless they are whispering about the books they are reading and it's meaningful. This is most definitely one conversation I wouldn't DARE interrupt.

Teaching can be tough. But that day reminds me of why I choose to teach. And it is one of the many reasons I love my job.