I'd like to take a moment of your time to introduce myself. I'm a retired teacher, having taught for 36 years, mostly in California. I began my teaching career in New York, and hold a life credential both there and in Calilfornia. I hold teaching credentials in English, American and British Literature, Reading, Social Science (psychology, sociology and anthropology), and Spanish, all of which I have taught at some time in my career.
For most of my career I taught at the middle school level, although I have a great deal of experience teaching at the high school level. If you asked which I preferred, I would be hard pressed to answer. Each grade level is so different, but each has its own rewards at the end. I have also tutored elementary school children in the areas of reading and writing. That was a change of pace for me and a real eye opener, but something I have enjoyed immensely.
When I retired from teaching I thought I would never be in a classroom again. I thought...
How often do we hear that a child is having trouble reading? How often do we hear that children these days just don't read? So often these two are more oddly related than we imagine.
My own step-son didn't read when young. He had so many difficulties with reading and no one knew quite where to start with him, as he didn't appear to have any other learning problems. Then came the magical day that this 8 year old non-reader asked for a subscription to National Geographic. No, he didn't want the Junior version! I convinced my husband to buy it for him because I truly believe that any reading is better than no reading, and if there's an interest in something, that's a start. That's when the world changed.
My husband had a subscription, himself, so this was a bonding moment (always a bonus). Each time there was a new magazine, the two of them would discuss one article or another. What we learned was that my step-son didn't read because he wasn't interested in the content. There...
I was THAT student. I was the student who was bright, interested in learning, worked hard, and cared. I was also that student who, for whatever reason that I couldn't figure out at the time, was not achieving the way she should have been. My grades were acceptable, but not outstanding, and they really should have been outstanding. I couldn't figure it out. My parents couldn't figure it out. My teachers and counselors couldn't figure it out. It wasn't until I entered Grad School that I finally knew! It was simple! I worried too much about my grades.
That may sound like a strange statement, but it really is very simple. The more I worried, the less time I spent actually studying. My books were open, my mind was ready to learn, but my worry got in the way of concentrating. There was a lesson hard learned, but at least I learned it. When I accepted that the real goal of studying was to learn, and that the outcome was going to be whatever it was after making a true effort, my grades...