Thursday, May 26, 2011

Readicide by Kelly Gallagher

I am a recently converted Kelly Gallagher-ite. I also have started poking around his blog at I just finished Readicide and, I must confess, found myself in a bit of a mid-life crisis. This book is all about ways for the English teacher to help students retain/gain a love for reading. The mid-life crisis part comes in when this book is paired with (1) the arrival of End of Course testing scores and (2) the graduation of the next to last class I will have taught.
The test scores affected me because I used to like getting them back. I know that is contrary to the popular belief, but I found them reassuring. I liked the concrete input from someone else saying that I was doing a good job. That just doesn't exist in the library. I don't get any feedback regarding how students perform as a direct result of my role in their lives. I don't know how to get this, but it is definitely something I miss.
Graduation made me sad this year. The faculty is always given an opportunity to choose students to whom one would like to distribute diplomas after graduation. Last year Dr. Pelham forgot to do this, and I had to email him about it. This year, I also sent a reminder email. When did the list get posted? On the day I was gone to Arkansas and was unable to sign up. By the time I returned on Monday, only kids I recognized (not felt connected to) were left on the list for me to choose. So, I spent graduation at a table next to 3 very connected teachers giving diplomas out to students who love them while I gave diplomas out to kids I had four years ago who didn't really like me then. What a drag! It totally deflated me. Next year's graduating class will be the last class of students I taught. I really hope I get to choose the kids I hand diplomas to! I also really hope I come to find a place within myself where I feel like I am affecting students in the library as much as I did in the classroom.
I know I was a great teacher, and I know I'm a good librarian (still figuring it out!). I just want to know I am loved by students again. I really miss their sense of reliance on me and the feeling that I made a difference in their lives.
This is a random post that really has nothing to do with this book. The book is great. If you teach English, you should read this book. It is revitalizing. That is another thing I miss about teaching. My favorite part of the year was reflecting on how I had done and planning for the next year. I guess that's the real source of this book's making me sad; I miss the chance try teaching some of my favorite titles again.
No one understands this. Susan and Mom think I'm crazy. Maybe I am, but it's still how I feel.

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