What is the purpose of education? If you were to step in many classrooms across the country, you might think it's to teach students to complete fill in the blank worksheets, to parrot back what their teachers say, to listen mindlessly and not question what they are being told because there is not time for that in the grand push to PASS THE TEST.
I worry so much that, as time passes, students (actually, people in general) will grow to see reading and writing as frills, things that eccentric Language Arts teachers care about, but that "real" people know are not as important as Facts. That Which Can Be Bubbled In. The Objective, rather than the Subjective. The things any computer can know and repeat. Questions that have one word answers.
If it does not come with a worksheet, it does not matter. It kills me when a student believes that.
How many times have I had this conversation? Too many to count. Enough to make me heartsick.
F: Are you keeping up with your reading?
Student: Not really.
F: Why not?
S: I don't have time.
F: Do you have time for your math and science and social studies homework?
S: Well, yeah.
F: What's the difference?
Sometimes I feel like I am fighting a battle I have already lost. Luckily, that feeling is rare, as my natural optimism about young people pulls me away from the brink.
I am so thankful for those students who have discovered what I have--that if you value something, you make time for it.
That reading is not just something you do; it's who you are.
Postscript: This is not a call for you to stop completing work in your other classes. I can already hear the conversations, "But Mrs. Fritch says......"