Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On Saying Good-bye to Free Wine and TV

Everyone knows I love a good book.  And, yes, I mean everyone.  I've made it my goal this year to share literacy and my belief that building better readers = building better thinkers.  And thus, better citizens. 

Each of my students has a 40 book goal. All of my classes are over 10% of the way toward their class totals. Ten percent in 5 weeks... I'm going to call that a success. Especially since it took almost a week for all my students to realize, truly, that I was not pranking them. 

Since August 27, I've also read 15 books of my own 40 book goal.  They've been delightful and beautiful and wonderful.  I found that by asking my students to read more, it's encouraged me to read more as well, and I've been provided an opportunity to find new, incredible authors and stories and to share them with every kid I see.  I find myself asking, "Whatcha readin'?" to almost every under-18 face I see -- even those I don't specifically know.

I've spent quite a bit of money on my classroom library this school year as well. It's meant a few cuts in other areas of my budget, and that's been tough in the moment. I waited a month for new Back-to-School sneakers. I've traded golden highlights for good hardbacks, and I've missed almost every tv premiere this week. I haven't even had a pedicure in over 8 weeks. That's a lot of free wine that the salon has saved itself. And it's been hard. Although I don't consider myself high-maintenance, I do have a streak of self-spoiling behavior that I do enjoy. It hasn't been easy to choose what's most important.

But, you know, it's been worth it. Cracked heels and overflowing DVR, be damned!

I looked around my desk today and counted over 20 books piled around me.  Usually, piles are overwhelming.  I wandered to my shelves and found books sitting askew and out of sorts.  Usually, messy shelves are frustrating.  And, in all my classes today, I had to wait 4-5 extra minutes to gain students' attention.  Usually, it's because they're talking.  Not anymore though.  Now, piles warm me and comfort me.  Messy shelves mean that students are constantly browsing, discussing, trading, taking. 

And the quiet? Don't worry.  I'll wait for you to finish that page, kids.  I'm busy enjoying the silence and dreaming of my next good book.  And maybe, possibly, a glass of wine to go with it.

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