I was smart once.
I majored in English in college and read many difficult books and wrote numerous intelligent essays. Now, when I come across papers like my senior honors thesis or essays I wrote in graduate school, I find words I don’t even know the meaning of anymore.
As I prepare for the honors class I’ll be teaching beginning this August, I’ve been reading more advanced books. I’m rereading Walden for the first time since college. Now, I’ve been teaching middle school for quite a while now. And I read books like The Outsiders and The Giver and The House on Mango Street. These are all good books, but they certainly are no challenge for an adult reader. In eighth grade we read To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet, which are more advanced, but still not terribly difficult.
But right now, Walden is kind of hard for me. Have I reduced my reading level by reading things like Harry Potter and The Fault in Our Stars in my free time for all these years in an effort to relate to my students and find books they would enjoy? Perhaps it would have been better for my brain to continue reading really challenging books.
I mean, it isn’t like I don’t read. I read all the time. But my choices are not challenging to me. Maybe they should be.
I think this honors class is going to challenge me as much as it challenges my students. Maybe more. Yikes!