| Angie Counios
When I worked in a restaurant while in art school, I would do art history homework at the staff table. I would leave my notebook open and sometimes the regulars would doodle in it.
I took the loose papers and put them in a duotang to save my homework. Soon after, coffee-drinking customers would come in ask for their usual and the notebook. It was soon full of writing and drawing and rants, comments, doodles.
It just occurred to me that was an early stage of today's social media. Like a text replacing a paper note passed in class, my book was like a cave painting before the internet. Man, have things changed.
One day at the restaurant, the dishwasher was flipping through the collection of raw art and said, “You know, you’re getting them to do stuff their teachers are beating them over the head to do in some classes. How ‘bout that?”
This was the moment I considered that maybe I could be a teacher since I could get them to do this stuff. I wrote this story in my ‘please accept me into the faculty of education essay’ on the premise that I could get kids to do work and guess what, I was accepted.
My friend who teaches English told me she took her class to the library to get a book for silent reading. One particular student couldn’t find anything that interested her. The teacher pointed out Along Comes a Wolfe only because her last name was Wolfe as well. She begrudgingly took it because she was running out of time and had to have a book for class.
Once I walked in and saw this girl at the back of the room leaning into the book. It made me smile.
About a week later, the class was asked to go to the auditorium for a presentation during that English class. The girl looked at her teacher, “But we will have time to read won’t we?” The teacher told her she wasn’t sure if the presentation would take the whole class or not. “Seriously! I want to come back and keep reading.”
How cool is that?
Dave and I are getting them to do stuff that others may beat them over the head for and they are enjoying it.
I shared the story with Dave and we high-fived each other on the couch in his office. That is exactly the result I want. I want people to want to read it and to be a little bit miffed if their plan to read has been disrupted.
On a side note as a teacher, it completely pleases me to know that I am covertly getting kids to want to read!!