When taking the time to read through classmates blogs I found a number of topics that struck my attention. The one that stuck out the most was in Jaimie M.'s blog in Entry #2. In this blog she talks about working in a school in Cleveland, Ohio in a second grade students. She gives a brief description of the make-up of the class. It sounds as though the class could be quite a challenge with the varying levels of student, as she states ranging from reading at a 2.5 level to not being able to write the alphabet. Jaimie needed to find a way to reach all of her students. What stood out to me was how she made it a point to find out the strengths and weaknesses of each child. This is what great teachers do! As Jaimie was discovering what her students could do well and what they struggled with she points out a couple interesting findings. The students in her class that were struggling with letter and sound relationships were the students that had wild imaginations for creating stories, and the students that were able to read at higher levels had a harder time with creating their own stories.
To me this is a great example of a teacher taking the time to actually get to know their students personally. Taking the time to see where each student is academically with many different skills. Looking at what level a student can read or write at is not the tell all for their overall academic ability. In fact, a student’s reading level does not necessarily correlate with his or her writing level. This is something that has been a learning experience to me prior to working in the literacy program. I had always thought reading and writing went hand in hand.
Getting back to Jaimie’s example of her second grade students, I think back to when I was in elementary school, and even today. When I am asked to read I am successful, I am able to read the material, on pretty much any level, and comprehend it. When I am asked to write a story, either about something that happened to me, or to create one myself, I struggle. I do not see myself as a descriptive writer. I write down the minimum to get the point across and I feel I have completed the task. When it comes to having an imagination to create a story, my work becomes even weaker. I have always felt as a child that I did not have an imagination! I could talk to someone all day long in person about real life events, but to make up a story still makes me nervous today. With this in mind it makes me wonder how much we should really force our students to have an imagination. If the teacher is taking the time to get to know their students, which every good teacher will do, should story writing be necessary? What skills does this creativity in writing work on for students’ futures? I found this especially troubling in my mind because I am presenting on the narrative genre next week. This genre has always given me trouble, and still does today. Taking this back to Jaimie’s post, how far should we push our students out of their comfort zone? Are there some academic areas that students should be pushed further out than others? Should future life skills be taken into consideration or just assignments for class, as in what is assigned is what needs to be done and that’s the end of it? These are just some questions I think about myself and struggle with when thinking about my teaching style and morals. In the end my goal is to have my students become successful citizens in society. Not all aspects of school are a good representation of the outside world. I will discuss this topic in another blog as I has been yet another surprising discovery for me.