The school where I work so rarely affords me those shining moments when my heart swells and I know that I love teaching, but I had one on Thursday. I got to pull five of Mr. Jones’s students out and take them away to a large square table tucked away on the third floor. The students read their independent reading books for fifteen minutes and then freewrote for ten. I also freewrote, because I had just begun reading The Myth of You & Me and I originally intended to do a pair and share activity that required an even number of people.
Everyone wrote at different speeds, so we all gradually pushed our papers to the center of the table and grabbed someone else’s freewriting to read and comment on. I asked students to really think about content over spelling and grammar. What emerged from the activity was student questioning, connecting texts to the self and world, and lots of book recommendations. It was adorable when the students were checking to make sure everyone had written a comment about their freewriting.
After the activity, we talked about what we liked about writing about our reading and having others read our work. One girl sighed and said, “I wish this could be English class every day.”
So do I. Me, five students, a square table – we could conquer the ELA world.
Here’s what I wrote about the Myth of You & Me:
The Myth of You & Me reminds me of all the friends I’ve lost. Sometimes we’ve merely drifted apart. Other times, there were fights, harsh words, jealousies, rivalries whose veils were finally plucked off. Would I be happier if I had been able to hang on?
All I surely know is life would be different. I wouldn’t be here exactly as I am now. In the book, one girl tries to reconnect with another. I don’t know what happens next, because I haven’t read that far. I assume the other girl responds, because there are hundreds of pages of reading ahead of me, but what will happen?
I’ve appeared out of nowhere before, with nothing but memories to dress myself up in. When I look for a lost relationship, I usually don’t even know what my intentions are. Do I want to be friends again? Do I want to remember why things didn’t work out? Or will I pretend I longed for the latter if I’m rejected, a salvaged relationship unwanted by an ex-friend?
The fact that people I haven’t seen or spoken to in years still cross my mind fairly often shows how unfinished my feelings are. Is anything ever finished, though?