Through my Ed. Program courses, I have been having a lot of exciting revelations lately about teaching, or at least how I want to teach—what I envision for my future classroom. It’s a really exciting process, and it’s making me very eager.
One of my professors lent me a book: Linda Christensen’s Teaching for Joy and Justice. I do not think I could be reading anything better at the moment. So far, I have only it through the introduction. But each page seems to strike a chord inside me. It’s like a lot of what has been swirling around in my head together in a book.
Below are some of my favorite quotes from the introduction. They are both inspirational and necessary to keeping students involved and eager to learn.
“I begin my teaching with the understanding that anyone who has lived has stories to tell, but in order for these stories to emerge, I must construct a classroom where students feel safe enough to be wild and risky in their work.”
“I have discovered that students care more about learning when the content matters.”
“When I begin my work with the belief that all students can write and that they have something important to say, I build writers by illuminating their gifts instead of burying them.”
“Putting students’ lives at the center of the curriculum also tells them they matter—their lives, their ancestors’ lives are important.”
“The books we choose to bring into our classroom say a lot about what we think is important, whose stories get told, whose voices are heard, whose are marginalized.”
“I want students to see that history is not inevitable, that there are spaces where it can bend, change, become more just.”
“The study of literature and composition, which should be a study of society and ideas, can get reduced to a search for technical details—chasing motifs and symbols at the expense of big ideas.”
These words create ideas that I want for my future classroom. I want it to be a community where everyone is working together to build their literacy, where we read novels because they teach us something about the world. When students can see these connections and understand why they are important, it makes learning fun, maybe even less stressful. I’m stoked to continue reading this book!