I'm friends with many of my former students on Facebook. Today, one of them posted this note, tagged with my name:
"I'm reading "The Help". Its an awesome read. I honestly am enjoying every second of it...and everytime i come across a word i don't know, i define it and write it down so I'll remember to use it later. Thank you for that Mr. (EpiphanyinBaltimore). Your lessons are still with me, even after all these years. That, is truly a gift. (:"
You have no idea how happy it made me.
It's been ten years or so since she was in my ninth grade class. I always teach books with the "ten year" goal in mind, asking myself what will this kid remember in ten years? I hope some of the themes -- all about injustice, doing the right thing and growing up -- are part of their blueprint. And I want them reading. I want to run into them on the street and be able to talk to them about what's on their bookshelves, and what they're sharing with their children, because this is what I want them to take from my class: some sort of passion for reading, and the strategies that go along with being a critical reader. This is what gives us an educated populace necessary for a democracy.
As cheesy as this all sounds, I'm sure, this is why I teach, and why I still am as excited now as I was a eleven years when I started this (if you don't believe me, check out the photos of my classroom library I tweet-pic'ed this week already... I've been in my classroom a week early every day this week, setting up).
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