I just read Erica Jacobs’ BOOK CLUB column in our local paper, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Kids getting excited about writing their personal responses to good literature is a teacher’s (any teacher’s) dream. Picturing the “at risk” group of high schoolers wiping the Chinese food off their faces as they searched for paper and pen was just priceless!
I love the idea of Book Clubs anyway, and am gratified that they are losing their hoity-toity reputation. As a means of academic intervention, they seem a lot more fun than the traditional extra period of drill and practice. I’m looking forward to hearing how effective they turn out to be. Until then, I’ll relish the idea of teachers treating ‘at risk” students with respect for their ideas and abilities.
As I plan my students’ day, I try to keep in mind a child’s need to feel respected and appreciated. Does that make me part of the loosey-goosey, progressive-minded apologist culture that so many see as the problem with education these days? Maybe, but without giving care to how my students are feeling, they just won’t learn.
That’s what ED programs are meant to do: Help kids find a measure of peace so that they can be available to learn. If we can’t help them settle themselves a bit, there is no getting to the brilliant strategies for catching up.
I often worry about the kids I had as first graders, who have moved on or out of the program. School is likely to be a challenge for these kids no matter what; I feel gratified to know there are people like Erica Jacobs ready to provide high school support in a most authentic, respectful way.
Please leave your comments, but I ask you to respect my anonymity and that of my school and students. Thanks!