Thursday, July 24, 2008

All Eyes On Me

So...it has been brought to my attention that I haven't posted in a bit. And while I'm flattered that you are hanging on my every word (I like to kid myself.), it is hard to think of school related posts when one is not working. Or thinking about working. In fact, denying the fact that one has to work ever again.

Although I haven't been totally useless all summer. I have had this ongoing project that has drawn many an odd look. Seriously, I have had more people staring at me, whispering about me and giving me really strange looks this summer.

So what am I doing? Walking around topless? No...... Public drunkenness? No....... Picking my nose at restaurants? No.....

I've been reading.

(GASP!)

I've been reading chapter books from popular children's series - like Horrible Harry, Jigsaw Jones, Cam Jansen, etc. All the types of books that a second grader might read at school.

I know, shame on me. Working in the summer. I mean, it's not like I'm getting paid, am I?

Wait, am I?

Anyway, after switching grades last year, I quickly realized that you can't "skim" an 80-page children's book and get the gist. After listening to a few students spin fanciful tales that couldn't possibly be accurate, I knew that I was in trouble. So I furiously started reading the books I assigned my students each week. And considering I had six different guided reading groups, each of whom received their own book each week, that was no small task. Soon, all of the stories started running together and I needed to create my own little cheat sheets on index cards to keep all my characters straight.

To save myself hours of cramming, I decided to leisurely read many of these books over the summer and create more thoughtful cheat sheets. You would think that I was exposing myself in public from the looks I've been getting.

There are those people that glance at me quickly and then look back to what they are doing. About five seconds later, it apparently registers that I was reading something with cartoon characters on the front, and they brazenly begin to stare, eyebrow raised, desperately squinting to read the title. These people kind of make me wish I was reading some raunchy porn that would really shock the pants off them. But, alas, I neither have the balls, nor the interest, to carry one of those around.

Then there are those people who look at the book, look at me, look back at the book and then look at me in disgust. I don't get those people.

And finally, there are the people that look at me, look at the book and then look back at me, eyes filled with pity. The look says,"Oh, you poor dumb thing...good for you! Good for learning how to read at 30! You sound it out, girl! Go ahead...beat the odds!" And then maybe, if I catch their eye, they give me that "Go get 'em" smile. Those people make me laugh.

So, in sum, I am trying to use my summer productively, but sometimes it seems as if everyone is just encouraging me to get back to the couch, pick up a magazine and let it all wait to fall.

20 comments:

rina_n_lexie said...

I read kids' books all summer long - my husband now teases me when he sees me read a book for "grown-ups" instead of the other way around. One of the "perks" of the profession, I suppose.

Ms. P. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ms-teacher said...

Obviously none of the people who were observing you were teachers. Teachers would have understood :)

Ms. P. said...

Sorry, I removed my earlier one due to some "apparently my eyes were closed while typing and I didn't bother to check it before posting" issues. :^)

Anyway, I love to read kid books because they have a good story, are fun, and quick to read. I like to know what the kids are reading and I love it when they have a book to talk about during sharing time, instead of the giant plastic robot that shoots pretend lasers out of its eyes.

Let 'em stare. They are probably just jealous anyway because you are keeping your brain in shape! Remember, reading is to the brain what exercise is to the body. :^)

Anonymous said...

Ha- very funny! Just put the kid's book inside a really fancy adult book! I too get stares when reading kid's books for my children's lit. class. Ms. P's right- and some of those books are so great!

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Listen, I read the Phantom Tollbooth about every other year. And then there's Where the Wild Things Are, The Chronicles of Narnia series, various Harry Potters, and I realize that those last two are considered acceptable adult fare. But last year I reread Smokey the Cow Pony.

Reading is reading. I know some teachers who never read what they assign to students. That's how we got ht eAWFUL basal readers that were used when I was a freshly minted English teacher. Gawd, were they awful.

You are so diligent-- I'm proud. I actually opened my school email for the first time in a month, and that was enough of a brush with "reality" to last me for another couple of weeks, thanks.

superdeens said...

I totes read kiddie lit all the time, it is sometimes way better than grown up books. I just switched to teaching sixth grade so those books are more mature and don't look too young, but I used to read Magic Tree House, Junie B Jones, etc. You can finish them in one sitting!

If you haven't read the Unfortunate Events series you must. They are hilarious and have many adult jokes that go over students' heads. Also the Geronimo Stilton series is pretty creative.

Tense Teacher said...

I've been reading teen fiction this summer... Not quite as attention-getting, but when that's all I buy at Books-A-Million, and the cashier sees that I only have a 7-year-old with me, I get some quizzical looks too.

I start work again this coming Friday...

Emily said...

I think it's great of you to do "homework" like this over the summer. I agree that the people who were watching you were definitely not teachers. Even if you weren't reading the books for reading groups, I always like to read children's books so I can see what they are exposed to daily.

I will admit that I have not brought myself to read Captain Underpants, though.

Stephanie said...

A student of mine went to Disneyland and came back with the books, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". I picked it up when he was finished reading, and laughed, and laughed. It was actually a good read! A little too 'teen-ish" for grade 3s, but funny nonetheless.

Rebecca Bell, Ph.D. said...

It IS hard to come up with blog fodder during the summer months. But I appreciate the effort! I now avoid reading anything remotely related to my profession (school psychology) on the train because people see the word "psychologist" and feel it is an open invitation to share their problems with me.

kiri8 said...

Ha! You should try being a preschool teacher. I'm reading PICTURE BOOKS in public. But I suppose if I have my kids with me then I don't get the funny looks.

(What does embarrass me is reading teen fiction in public, because yes, I'm a grownup and I'm crazy about the Twilight series.)

Maui Man said...

Nothing motivates an adult to learn how to read better than a raunchy porn novel.

Careful Wisher said...

I am also a teacher reading "kids" books before school start, which is Monday for me and mine. I am actually reading the books that my 4th grade son will be required to read this year, hoping to better assist him with any trouble he may have. Good teachers work year-round!-- I also read some earlier posts and totally relate with the retention of student dilemna!

rach :) said...

I teach high school alt ed, so I have no professional reason to read children's books... and yet I find they're the best thing to read while giving blood. Light weight, quick reads, larger print... and who cares what the rest of the people think!

Krissy said...

I loved reading the books my kiddos were reading! That was the easiest class I ever took in college too! Enjoy your time off. My friends at home will be heading back shortly...

Anonymous said...

It wasn't until I started reading childrens books that I realized that reading can be fun, not just educational. Recently I started reading children/teen books to become familiar with what my students were reading--I teach middle school. I am currently reading the Maximum Ride series and love them.

Ilene said...

I like to go to the library and check out all of the summer reading books for my grade level and check them all off the list. Talk about a feeling of accomplishment when I read 12-15 books a summer!

雪花 said...

福~
「朵
語‧,最一件事,就。好,你西.............................................................................................................
..................

雪花 said...

福~
「朵
語‧,最一件事,就。好,你西.............................................................................................................
..................

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