Reading: A Life and Goals

This post is a model for my students to consider as they write their first blog entry.

Hello there! I’m Ms. Mayo, I’m a high school English teacher, and (this might come as a surprise) I love to read! I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember. When my cousins would ask for the newest Atari game for their birthdays, I requested books–or money so I could buy books! Sometimes that money was spent on the newest 45 (that’s a 45-RPM record…just ask your parents) of “Glory of Love” by Peter Cetera, but more often than not I went in search of the most recent title in The Babysitter’s Club series. I’m still a series fan today–The Hunger GamesThe Selection–and I’ll read one author’s entire catalog–John Green, Rainbow Rowell, & Matthew Quick are a few of my favorites. It’s safe to say that while I might have taken a break from reading for a time (more about that in “A Life in Books”), I’ve rejoined the masses and chosen reading as my number one hobby!

My goal this year is to read 15 books. I’m already reading about an hour a day, thanks to three classes with 20 minutes of independent reading time. I should add about 20 more minutes at night: reading before bed is way better than being on my phone or computer. My “to-read” list is long and ever-growing. I’m trying to decide which non-fiction book to read before the end of October, probably either A Murder Over a Girl by Ken Corbett or Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be by Frank Bruni. I haven’t even thought about the AP titles that I’ll tackle, but I’m pretty sure I won’t read any more Hemingway. Maybe something by Faulkner or Steinbeck. Or maybe I’ll look for something more current by a female author. The possibilities are endless!

 

Challenge Accepted

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to attend a 3-day Cultural Proficiency Institute with 4 colleagues. It was an enlightening experience both professionally and personally. And the line that stuck with me the most was something one of our administrators said: “You have to meet people where they are, not where you want them to be.”

A mantra, so to speak, of the idea of cultural proficiency is that it’s a never-ending journey. We’re always striving to better understand the vast variety of people that we encounter in our lives. When we come across people along the way who may appear to be reluctant to join us on the quest, we have to be careful not to impose on them our own notions of who they should be.

For me, this is complicated. It’s difficult for me to wrap my brain around the concept that people exist who dismiss others simply because of their gender, the color of their skin, or any number of things that are often out of their control. I have high expectations of human beings, which often leads to frequent disappointments. I’m trying to embrace the challenge of learning to meet them where they are, and I hope they see me as I am. And I hope what they see is kindness and acceptance, and maybe they’ll decide that it’s time to remove the obstacles and continue the journey to better understanding.

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