Saturday, April 30, 2011
Learning I will be hosting Kelly Gallagher in my new job to guest speak to Connecticut teachers, I ordered his book, Readicide, which arrived yesterday in the mail. I took a night off from writing and read the text. I have nothing but praise for it. He is a sharp cookie, that one.
As I went chapter to chapter, i kept thinking, "This is just common sense." I reflect on my teaching in Kentucky, and the promotion of good reading, writing, thinking and doing habits instilled into students I knew. It was, for the most part, a whole-school culture. I've not felt that since leaving, and when I read Gallagher's account and think about what I've seen in schools, I'm horrified at what American youth are going through. As ugly as my teaching could be, at least it was an environment where we were in an ongoing debate of ideas through our reading, writing, thinking and doing. Our minds were alive.
That notion of having minds that are alive is exactly what has plagued me since leaving my classroom. Not only are the minds of youth numbed by schools, but the minds of teachers are also frozen and paralyzed. It seems so obvious what best practices in schools should be and that promoting every individual should be the top priority. BUT, as Gallagher points out, the numbers are a top priority and in the hectic race to meet No Child Left Behind, more students and more teachers have been left behind. Programs have come to save the day, but they can't do it because they are robotic and stale.
I am looking forward to meeting Kelly Gallagher in two months. It was nice to take an evening off to read a book.