School starts this Tuesday. I doubt any of my students (you) will read this before Tuesday, and let’s be real– the chances of you reading after I show you where my blog is are pretty slim too, but that doesn’t deter me!
At the risk of sounding corny or phony or too obnoxiously happy — I want to say,
“I’m so glad you’re in my class! I don’t know anything about you, and you don’t really know anything about me, but that’s kind of exciting, don’t you think? We all get to start fresh!”
Today I heard a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that I want to tattoo to my memory, it said,
“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”
That thought spoke to my core today. I’ve read a lot of books, as you can imagine, and there are some I remember better than others; some whose taste has lingered longer and made me want to read more, but all the same books have made me who I am. Books have given me an escape from a myriad of personal problems. Books have given me courage to travel outside my comfort zone in a room of people. Books have given me a desire to see a country where I am the foreigner, the outsider. Books have given me hope. Books have taught me about life: about people, about love, about sorrow, about resilience. What I’ve learned from books basically runs now through my veins and helps power my heart. Because in a book, I learn to connect. I learn about how other people think and how other people react and how other people overcome tragedy and how other people summon bravery and courage. I learn a lot from books, and then I go and practice what I learn in the “real world.”
“I hate reading,” you might be saying to yourself, “this teacher be wack!” And to that I reply, “You’ve probably been eating books you don’t like. Would you eat black licorice over and over and over again if you didn’t like the way it tasted and you kept spitting it out only to force it back in? I certainly hope not (and by the way I dislike black licorice)! That would be tragic to continue trying to eat black licorice when you could try chocolate covered cinnamon bears (my personal favorite) and be so much happier with your treat selection. Would you eat mangos if you didn’t like the way they tasted? I certainly hope not (and by the way mango tastes like soap to me). All I’m saying is it is possible you haven’t found your right flavor of book, and as we progress through this 8th grade year, I hope to help you hone in on your literary palette.
I don’t expect you to love reading like I do, just like you shouldn’t expect me to love rap or country music the way you do. There are some things we just don’t like. But if I show you a book that surprises you because it actually jives with your rhythm of life, don’t resist, give it a shot. You’ll have to open the book first to see though. And if you were to magically find me rap music that isn’t offensive to my moral code or my identity as a woman or a country music that isn’t TWANGier than tractor wearing overalls, then I’d give it a shot. But I’ll have to turn up the volume so I can actually hear it.
I hope this year, you can find a book to help make or strengthen who you are. #itsgonnabeagoodyear!