Reading and writing has been an important part of my life as a child and a core component in my educational curriculum, Although it has been an important part of my life for all these years, that does not mean it has necessarily been easy for me the entire time I had a difficult stage with comprehension when I was younger, which was very frustrating and discouraging. This caused me to carry a negative connotation with reading for many years after that I would dread summer reading, although I usually forced my way through the many slow and painful novels, Even in grade school, the smaller short stories seemed boring just because they were assigned and I was told to read not offered, and I would easily get distracted after reading a page or two, This feeling unfortunately continued all the way through middle school until my eighth grade English teacher showed me a different way of looking at things.
My eighth grade teacher, Miss Gratton, helped shape me into the speaker, reader, and writer that I am today by feeding my interests in literature, engaging in discussion, and portraying her own passions.
Miss Gratton took the time outside of class to talk to each of her students and get to know their interests better, This made all of her students, especially me feel important, and not like a number in the class The fact that she taught at a private, Catholic, school had a great deal to do with her agenda as well, I believe she tried to tie life lessons and morals into her small lectures in order to keep them relatable and interesting, which was always something to look forward to in class She continuously cared about input from her students too, to make sure they were notjust going through the motions during class, but genuinely enjoying reading and writing with others around them When she would speak with me in particular, she would ask me what kind of books I liked, if any, and why, For the first time in a long time, I was asked to give a reason why 1 did not always enjoy reading.
Being asked personally what I liked made me feel like I was involved in something bigger than myself and that the world or literature is so diverse. I felt like reading was always a plain assignment instead of enjoyment or an exciting hobbyr She taught me that yes, reading is an assignment in her class, but that it is so much more than that and its purpose is far greater than a letter grade. Miss Gratton had a way of involving all aspects of language into her class For example, if we read a book, we would discuss it in class, or get in groups to speak about our feelings towards the plot and the character’s decisions, She would allow everyone to voice their opinion, or maybe encourage those who were not as forward with contributing In English class, or any class for that matter, I usually choose to listen to people’s opinions rather than sharing my own, I like to be an observer and take it all in before expressing my feeling.
It is not because I am shy, but I like to listen more than speak in many situations. Miss Gratton helped me break out of this shell a little bit, even though it was a pan of my personality I can now confidently and easily express my opinions and articulate my thoughts to a group of people in a classroom setLing. Another thing that Miss Gratton often did with tts as a class was get personal It was not in an intrusive way at all, but she would be our teacher in class, but our friend outside of class. This was one of the many things that she did to earn my respect and friendship. Miss Gratton and I keep in contact as she is now studying at Fordham to get her masters and I am just starting out with my undergraduate degree.
In addition to reading in her class, we wrote essays, and a lot of them We also wrote stories in her class as well as personaljournal entries, She would allocate time at the end of class to free-write in a diary orjournal and just jot down anything that was in our minds This was a nice change of pace my eighth grade year because there was no pressure that it was going to be graded, it was just getting my thoughts organized and collected on paper. That was definitely something important that she taught me: reading and writing can be relaxing, She did notjust tell us this, but she showed us and used herself as an example. She would share with the class a few books that she had recently read and why she liked them She would always offer us suggestions if we might be interested in something similar.
There was never a dull moment and a class is always more enjoyable when you know that the teacher truly loves what she does. As I grew up a couple years after that into high school, I struggled often with reading merely as an assignment. When I could find the free time to pick something I enjoyed reading, comprehension would never be an issue. I would relax, enjoy myself, and feel no pressure to finish a chapter in a certain amount of time, This was something I would have never been able to do, if it was not for Miss Gratton. I can now read a book with an open mind and anxious eyes. A love for literature is intangible, It must be taught and self-induced, and that is something I was fortunate enough to have experienced.