Believe it or not, I decided in the 5th grade that I wanted to become an English teacher (or ‘language arts’ as my 11-year-old self only knew it to be called.) But don’t worry, I didn’t just determine my destination with a mere day’s worth of thought. Actually, the wheels started turning way back in the third grade when my elementary teacher asked me if I had ever considered becoming a writer. This seemingly inconsequential conversation led me to where I am today.
Fast-forward several years.
In high school, my love of reading and writing expanded. I took extra English courses, one of my favorite being a class on mythology. I can’t quite pinpoint exactly what I enjoyed the most about my mythology class, but I think it has a lot to do with the simplicity in the creative and interesting stories the ancient Greeks and Romans created to explain the world around them. My favorite story is that of Persephone, Demeter, and Hades. This story explains why we have seasons. Although every science class I’ve ever had tells me it has something to do with the sun, I enjoy this explanation much, much more!
I wasn’t just in love with learning about myths, though. I also fell in love with a variety of other stories in high school such as Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Lord of the Flies by William Golding. In fact, I still claim that Wuthering Heights is tied with Animal Farm (by George Orwell) as my favorite book. In Don Gallo’s article, “How the Classics Create an Alliterate Society,” I had to remember that not every student feels the same way about classics. A good thing to remember as a teacher.
During my junior year of high school, I differed from the majority of my fellow classmates because I actually enjoyed Shakespeare! Although I haven’t read many of his plays, I have read Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, and I am excited to begin reading Twelfth Night this spring!
A final memory I can recollect from my literary adventures as a teen, is the time of year at my high school called January Jubilee. This increased not only my love of reading, but a love of genres I had yet to experience as a young reader. During this time, the English department decided on a theme and compiled a huge (I mean HUGE) list of books related to that theme. Students were given their choice of which book on that list they wanted to read, instead of reading one book that they might not at all take an interest in. This element of choice was exciting not only to avid readers such as myself, but to most of the school! I look back to this moment of high school and believe that I can help my students see reading as my classmates did during January of each year.