|FOR THE LOVE OF READING
|FOR THE LOVE OF READING
I used to love travel and tourism more than I do today. It’s true. My husband talks about visiting places far and wide and a small part of me withers.
“Maybe later,” I say. “There’s too much going on this year. It’s just not a good time.”
I’m sure I’ll soon get over this weariness with travel. You see, I was a traveling teacher for four years and the glow and shimmer of being a traveler wore off so quickly. Airports lost their gleam. Tourism lost its glimmer.
I’m sure that very very soon I will look forward to being a tourist again. Airports will again become harbingers of warm weather, sunny beaches; the amazing sights and sounds of vacation. I will be on my way to being a tourist in some exotic locale.
Tourism is a funny thing. When we are a tourist we look at the sights, we take photographs and exclaim over the novelty of every little detail of our vacation spot. “Look at that building! Look at those people who actually live here! Do they know how amazing this is?” We revel in every sight and sound. We notice everything about the surface of a place. We stare and smile and point and exclaim. (We are ridiculous).
But being a tourist is fun. It’s fun to only see the surface and never delve into the reality of living somewhere. We don’t live in those buildings. We only watch the residents working and living. We watch them. We are not engaged in real life in this place. We are not engaged in the hard work of living here. We are not residents.
Last year, I was fortunate to hear Michael Opitz and Michael Ford speak at the International Reading Association Conference in New Orleans. They were speaking on Engagement and Joy (topics so close to my heart).
They said something that has stuck with me throughout this last year. Allow me to paraphrase:
Students need to be residents in their learning, not tourists.
Think about that for just a minute. Let it soak in.
I see so many students who are tourists in classrooms. They look at the sights; “Look at that book! Look at that writing! Look at those teachers who are reading and writing! Listen to their thinking!” They notice everything on the surface. They stare and smile. They go home and live their real lives as residents of whatever they love to do. Maybe being readers, maybe not.
They are not engaged in the work because others are doing it for them. They are watching the work, and it’s fun to watch, but it’s not their work. They don’t own it. They don’t live in it. They are not engaged in the hard work of being learners. They are tourists.
But we can change that. It is possible. We can take away the tourist and make a resident. Students can be engaged in the real work in classrooms.
We can do it. With joy. We can do it together. Let’s all reside in the real work of becoming readers.
Save the tourism for our next vacation.