Saturday, May 26, 2012

This I believe - Literature

This I believe…

                I believe in literature, whether it’s in the form of e-books, audio books or ink and paper books.  I have taken Lamar Burton’s saying, “take a look, it’s in a book” and formed my belief system around it.  For me, literature has the ability to connect readers of all age, gender, ethnicity and race.  I believe in using literature to learn about something new, as well as refreshing an idea of old.  

Despite my occupation as a teacher, I am truly an introvert at heart.  I credit literature for helping and counseling me through all of life’s trials and tribulations, and making me into the person and educator that I have become. When I am in a social situation, and I am unsure of how to initiate or continue a conversation, literature always seem to help me find a common discussion point within the conversation.  Literature has given me the confidence to become a more extroverted individual.  

Within my occupation as a teacher, I am required to assess my students in many ways I do not believe in as an educator.  However, literature has been my go to resource for how to ensure student learning without focusing on the pain-staking assessments.  Tapping into the wonderful world of literature, not only opens worlds to students that they do not know exist, but it also helps students feel more confident about their current world and situations.  I spent two years teaching in a school district that did not value literature.  Books were a taboo topic of discussion, where as test prep workbooks were valued.  Students were like plants begging for water, when they would hear me talk about my favorite books.  These students would come to my room at recess and after school, asking if I had the latest Wimpy Kid book or if I could recommend a book by Lois Lowry.  They were eager to join this foreign world of literature.  When I switched school districts and began teaching at one that values literature, the discussions that I was able to have with students was incredible.  When students come to me to borrow books, they are able to articulate what they are interested in and then recommend books that I would be interested in as well.  Students are also able to take literature by their favorite author’s and write like the authors write, but apply their own ideas within that structure.  I believe literature has been the keystone to outstanding student engagement and motivation, not test prep workbooks.

Literature does not judge or care what baggage I may be carrying or the fears that I am hiding.  I believe that literature is a risk-free attempt to try something new and become someone I never dreamed that I could be.  I believe that everyone should be introduced to literature, so people always have a non-judgmental and encouraging place to turn, when unsure.  I believe that a world with literature is a world full of educated, motivated and engaged citizens.