Every year, every parent approaches me to confide these three things: (1) My child is lazy, (2) My child did not enjoy reading Time Machine over the summer, (3) My child will not want to write. I’d like to meet the person these three statements would not apply to. Aren’t people generally lazy (as in, we don’t want to do things we don’t want to do)? And who would want to spend a summer reading H.G. Wells’ turn of the century dystopian novel about time travel? And who wants to write? Finally, if all of these statements ring so true for me, then why in the hell am I an English teacher?
I think I’m an English teacher for the same reason that I began this writing project. Because I am generally lazy and I need accountability in order to do things I don’t want to do (like write). Because I really can’t stand Time Machine, but I respect the thematic messages of the book and I believe Wells was really on to something when he predicted that the world would essentially ruin itself with technology (though I love my iPhone). Because even though I rarely want to write, I always find it feels good once I make myself do it (kind of like exercise?). There’s something in me that needs and wants to read and write. Teaching helps me understand where that drive comes from.
I’m sure you’re expecting me to explain where that drive comes from, but I don’t have the energy for such deep probes at this late hour the night before the first day of school. I really need to focus on much more immediately important things like what I’m going to wear tomorrow and which design template I should use for my introductory Power Point. In the meantime, perhaps you might think about why we read and write? I could use your input to help direct our discussions about literacy this week. Here are some questions for you to ponder:
- Why do you read?
- Why do you write?
- What do you read the most? (Think about text in general, not just “Literature”)
- What do you write the most?
- What do reading and writing help you accomplish in your life?
- How often do you read and write?
- When you were a student, did you do most of your reading/writing in or out of school?
If you have the time and you’re not feeling lazy (ha!), respond in comments or email me (whitreed at mac dot com).