Monday, September 7, 2015

Literacy and the Electives Teacher

So this might be a bit of a hot mess post, but let's be real my hot messness is just a part of who I am. When I started this blog it was just a way for me to tell my story. To tell the crazy things that just seem to happen to me and to tell them in the typical awkward Meghan fashion. While that is still true, this blog has because a great avenue for me to share my thoughts on teaching, which is my passion, my heart, and my slight obsession. What I love about education blogging is that it is connecting me with so many other educators. Below are links to some of my blogger/friends(even though I have never actually met them I'm sure we are besties for the resties). Check them out!!! There are so many more but these are a great place to start!

Blue Cereal Education
View From The Edge
Teaching From Here

Okay so let's get to the point here...during last night's #oklaed Twitter chat, which by the way if you are an Oklahoma educator and you are not on Twitter or if you are and you are not participating in our Sunday Twitter chat may I ask why? Okay now I'm really getting to the point...our chat was over literacy. I love literacy it is great, amazing, fabulous, wonderful...I can get on board with literacy. One of the questions was "How can classes like electives support reading and writing?" When I saw that this question was going to be asked, I would say that my excitement was much like that moment when I pull combination pizza rolls out of the oven. Which is pretty darn excited! I'm an incredibly passionate person about what I do and what I teach, so I was looking forward to sharing my thoughts. For the love I was super pumped.

First-electives teachers are real teachers. I can't even begin to describe how hurtful and harmful I find it when other educators say I'm not a real teacher, but I'm a glorified babysitter. I am a real educator. What I teach might not look like what you teach, but let me tell ya, what I teach is real. What I do on a daily basis is real. The kids that struggles in your Math or ELA class, is a rock star in mine. I teach choir, because when I was a middle school kid, I needed it. I have wanted to teach middle school choir since I was in middle school choir. Electives teachers are real teachers we work hard to ensure quality educational experiences for our students. Students need music, art, drama, computers, foreign languages, and PE not because they "raise test scores" but just because.

Second-we teach literacy. There are so many forms of literacy out there. Musical literacy, visual literacy, digital literacy, and so on and so on. I love what my man Zolton Kodaly says about music literacy. "We should read music the same way the an educated adult would read a book: in silence but imagining the sound." I tell my students all the time that in my class we read with our ears and listen with our eyes. The first time I tell them this, they look at me like I'm a crazy loon, well actually they look at me like that all the time. I'm not just building singers, I'm building musicians. My end goal is for my students to look at what is is musically written on the page and be able to hear the music in their heads. Is it easy...hahahahahahahahahahahahaha no. It takes a lot of work on my part and it takes a lot of time on my students part. But when they get it, it is so awesome! So yes I teach literacy.

Third-just let us teach and do our thing. Like I said, we are quality teachers doing quality work. We have projects and lessons that educate the whole child. To ask us to teach how to read non-fiction articles and essays is just wrong. Because to ask you to come and teach choir with no training would be crazy. We will be more than happy to support you and more than happy to encourage our students in your classes. I encourage my students to read and I have them journal at the end of our content units and they love it. Plus I'm a reader myself, I love reading and I love talking books with my little darlings.  Like I said before, we are teaching literacy.

My final thought is this: Let's stop teacher shaming each other and respect what we are doing.  Let's support, build up, and encourage each other. So we can ultimately reach our goal to reach students and to make them better readers, better math students, better historians, better scientists, and more importantly better people.