It is Tuesday morning and the students are walking into the various testing rooms to take an end of course assessment for biology. Things I am noticing while watching this: 1. The students don't want to be here for this 2. The teachers don't want to administer this 3. The administrators are nowhere to be found and 4. I could be teaching.
Honestly, I am a positive person most of the time. That said, I love my job as a teacher and I think it's the most important job in the world. The education world however is another story. There are so many things done in education which are completely nonsensical and flat-out detrimental to our children. Deep breath.
I try to read a lot of personal narrative essays and in my opinion the best writer in the genre is a 27 year old literary wizard living in New York named Chloe Caldwell. Her book, Legs Get Led Astray, is full of the most vibrant essays I've ever read and she's only 27. This essay, My Heart was still Beating, is about her time spent as a babysitter when she lived in Seattle. It's gorgeous. I had a writing teacher in college who said that great writers take the ordinary and make it seem extraordinary and they take the extraordinary and make it seem ordinary. Caldwell takes a mundane topic like babysitting and finds deeper meaning in it. She is also so open and giving of herself that by reading her essays, you feel like you know her intimately. Personally, I'm excited to see what's to come from this amazing essayist.
Essay: 10 of 10
Caldwell captures children perfectly through her descriptions of their actions, oddball behaviors, and captivatingly self-centered dialogue. There were so many times in this essay where I read something and stopped and said to myself, "Perfect." That doesn't happen to me very often but this essay is just perfect.
Teachability: 10 of 10
If you teach a personal narrative unit or a storytelling lesson, this is a must-read and Caldwell's use of dialogue is the thing on which to focus. The topic of babysitting is familiar to children so that's a plus as well. Caldwell's ratio of story to reflection in excellent for the genre and serves as a perfect example for student work. Recommended 100%.
My goal: I will read a short story, essay, or piece of longform journalism each day this year and write about it. I'll review the piece and then evaluate it for classroom teaching purposes. Then once a month, maybe/perhaps, I will post my own essay on something in the educational field.
I consider myself to be a very average, run-of-the-mill teacher who can share some of my experiences and opinions.