professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Help Me, Obi Wan

As a middle school teacher, I was somehow convinced that I was the last great hope for my students. They left my class and went on to the high school next, a place where reading largely consisted of the anthology of old (and mostly dead) white (and mostly western and male) authors. I believed I was the Obi Wan Kenobi, their only hope.

In some ways, I guess that was not a bad sort of mindset (though I do see now that it is more than a little arrogant) to have. I think it compelled me to work as hard as I could to make sure each student left my class knowing more about her or his reading identity. They had read a few books; they knew some authors, forms, genres they liked and were willing to try some new things. I battled against the dark side of the force, strengthening students to withstand Darth et al. I had the same sort of mindset as I began conducting PD as well.

Perhaps this mindset helped me overcome the fact I am an introvert (yes, you read that correctly. She of the MAGENTA HAIR is an introvert. I am. Trust me). It gave me that sort of Han Solo meets Leia combines with Luke sense of confidence I needed (and still do). However, these days when I channel my inner Obi Wan, it is for a very different (or perhaps I am more Yoda these days?). Now I see myself as more of a mentor, an advisor and not a warrior. And like Obi Wan (and Yoda) I see many new warriors whose voices and talents are united in literacy development. They share books with a passion (looking at YOU, Colby Sharp); they model a literate life for their own students (Yo!, Katherine Sokolowski). They spread the word about how to support readers and reading identity (Donalyn Miller, thank you). They are writing the new books (Pernille Ripp) for educators; they are encouraging librarians to be the best they can be (Indeed, Mr. Schu), and they are developing new ways to get the word out (Hey there, Karin Perry). I could go on and on and if you name is not here, it is not because what you do is not as crucial; it is because I could simply fill post after post with names of folks who inspire me, who educate me, who fill me with optimism.

So maybe you will forgive me for my arrogance (or not). I know I am not the last best hope. YOU ARE.
Tags: mentors, star wars
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