I started my journey to add young adult literature to my classroom when I finally ran out of patience for our outdated African American unit. The updates went so well, I’ve begun branching out into my other classes and units. I have found that young adult literature is especially great for engaging my at-risk students. Better yet though, it’s engaging for me. When I’m teaching more contemporary novels, I’m more thoughtful and engaged in my teaching.
I know I am not alone in the engagement challenge. In a world where my students can stream fist fights or stand-up comedians, how do we get them to care about what's going on in our little classrooms?
In a creative writing class, however, where rules are meant to be broken, creativity is unrestrained, and student skill levels vary wildly, providing that scaffolding can be a challenge. How, then, do you guide students and provide support without limiting their creativity?
Every lesson I learned that year was learned the hard way. I was at school late at night, until the custodian came in asking why I was still there. In the parking lot, I would sit in my car, willing myself to walk inside and not cry.
You guys, I have never been so fired up to teach anything in my life.