Inspirational Words from a Teacher of Reading

I’m slogging through writing my last paper for HGSE.  I read this for my paper and I’m, well not completely rejuvenated, but my interest is re-piqued.

“I am not a machine. I am not a silver-bullet reading program that will sit on a table in room 165 and wait for Alvin or his mother to push the “on” button to tease, push, cajole, nag, nurture, and so much more. Nor am I just anybody. I have energy and expertise. I know language, writing, and reading, especially as they concern adolescents. I understand the importance of phonemic awareness, phonetic connections, morphemic knowledge, textual organization, metacognitive awareness, contextual strategies, critical literacy, and multiliteracies. I appreciate the value of struggling and succeeding by our own efforts and of being able to say, “See, you could do it,” whatever the task, and then watching pride grow into a smile. I read professional literature daily and reflect on current research and practice that encourage literate thinkers and learning strategies that are effective and com- pensate for student strengths and weaknesses. I create a curriculum that is responsive to the students who come into my charge, and I make hundreds of decisions and adjust lessons on the spot according to my assessment of student learning. I am aware that there are social forces in the community and at work—cultural differences, school structures and politics, and teacher variability. And I acknowledge that I have deficiencies; some I don’t recognize and others I work to repair.

I am all of these things, for I am a teacher. I am also dispensable—easily replaced by another READ 180 teacher. I am gratified to believe that I am not so dispensable to Alvin and his mother. Apparently, they are looking for a teacher of literacy, not a manager of computer disks and discrete skills, such as those set forth in a reading program. I have them to thank for reaffirming what I know and feel: pride in being a teacher of reading. Of greater significance, however, is that Alvin and his mother, by recognizing their challenges as readers, have brought the response to compre- hensive reading instruction into focus: the place for the teacher in reading.”

Lupino, E. (2005). Taking place: The teacher in reading. International Reading Association, 49(1), 4-10.

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