I love literacy (and alliteration).

When I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher. A middle or high school English teacher, to be more specific. I was inspired by some of the fabulous teachers I had throughout my education. Even in college, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by some pretty amazing faculty.

They weren’t all incredible. There was the 7th grade English teacher who had us watch movies pretty much every day while she sat in the back of the classroom adjusting her wig and putting on way too much lipstick.

But the ones that stood out, were the ones who brought their love of [insert subject here] into their classroom. My sixth grade teacher sat her class down once a week for “reading time.” Instead of business-as-usual, she would have us sit on the carpet and listen as she read aloud to us. My Junior year English teacher was young and full of energy. She recommended books to me outside of the curriculum that she knew I would enjoy. She let me be a T.A. for her during my Senior year, solidifying my decision to go to college to be a teacher. Many of my Literature classes in college were taught by one amazing woman who presented me with opportunities to explore other career options when I decided that teaching wasn’t really for me. She brought me on as the assistant editor of the Review, which gave me my first experience at editing – something that became a lifelong passion.

My wish for my 5-year-old son, is that the adults in his life take as much of an interest in his education as the ones in mine did. My mother was there for me, helping me with homework (but never doing it – as it turns out was an issue for some of the other kids I attended grade school with), and gently pushing me to achieve my personal best. She set the bar a little bit higher than the school system did, because she knew what I was capable of.

The standards right now are a laugh. The bar has been set low, in the hopes that everyone will do “just enough” to get by in life. The bar at the Success Academies is set higher on purpose, because the adults know the kids are capable of more than what some school board says they are. Kids are small, but they aren’t stupid (this is a paraphrase of something the authors stated in Mission Possible several times). They don’t need to be spoken to in falsetto voices with baby talk. We don’t need to talk down to our children. They are brighter than many people give them credit for.

When my son was young, I skipped over the baby talk. I spoke to him as if I were having a conversation with someone my own age. I believe this is directly responsible for his brilliant mind. He has been known to correct other people’s grammar (adults and kids alike), and has always enunciated better than I’ve heard in my experience with children of a similar age.

I also place a lot of emphasis on reading and writing because “literacy is the key to learning.” (pg. 4) This is one of many ideals that I agree with the authors and founders of the Success Academies and THINK Literacy. My son starts Kindergarten this fall (because he missed last year’s cut-off by a mere 10 days!), and he has already started to read. He is starting his schooling already ahead of the standards that have been set by adults who don’t believe in the abilities of our children. He and I will have to work harder, just to make sure that he is constantly challenged, and does not feel “bored” by the low standards he has to reach.

In an ideal world, every school would adopt the practices of the Success Academies. Teachers would be paid what they deserve, given the training and resources they need, and our children would directly benefit from that.

This isn’t an ideal world, and it’s hard to be optimistic about the future of our educational system, but I’m doing my best. I’m taking responsibility for my child’s education, doing what I can to stimulate his natural curiosity, and helping him go beyond some lame standards set in place by someone who doesn’t even believe in what he – and any child – can achieve.

For more information on Mission Possible and the Success Academies, visit http://readmissionpossible.com. You can also connect with Eva Moskowitz, Founder and CEO of the Success Academy Charter Schools, on her FaceBook page or via Twitter.


This post and the following giveaway are sponsored by The SITS Girls. All opinions expressed are my very own.


Want to win a copy of Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School? I’ll be giving away one copy to a random commenter on August 23rd. Just leave me a comment below. You can just stop by and say “howdy”, or you can tell me your school experiences, or you can just tell me how pretty my hair looks today. Anything counts. But I’d really love to hear your opinions on the education of our children. (One entry per person.)

This is my very first giveaway, so I’m making it really easy. If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, like the Unintentionally Brilliant Facebook page, or subscribe to my RSS, that would be fantastic. But none of that is required to enter the contest. Just a comment will do.

Share Button

10 comments on “I love literacy (and alliteration).”

  1. Brianna

    In a past life, I wanted to be a teacher. It’s all I wanted from the time I was 7, actually. Then life happened and I’ve never been a real teacher. In fact, I was fired (“laid off”) from the one job that had the potential to make me a teacher. The education in Clark County stinks. The dropout rate is high. It was touted on the news that the graduation rate was up to 61% for the class of 2012. Most people I know in Vegas don’t care about education – kids go to private school so their parents can make a social statement, not so their kids can get a good education. It makes me so sad.

  2. Lil Sister

    I hope I can teach Ashlynn what she needs to know to be way above the standard like you have done for T. I was never into school or learning like you were and are but I hope I can teach my daughter different. I’m so inspired by how well you have raised T to be such a smart intelligent human. I love you and miss you both so much. Hope to see you soon. Lots of hugs and kisses. Love you cissy xoxo

  3. Amanda Austin

    I wanted to be a teacher growing up more than just about anything else. I dreamed about it from the first grade until college. i discovered I didn’t like teaching…I firmly believe that teachers are the most special people on the planet…they have to have patience, passion and the drive to cut through allll the bs and reach those kids. Kids spend almost as much time with their teachers as their parents, so you want to know they are in the best hands.

  4. Samantha

    I would love to read this book! Roxy hasn’t started school yet, but with the preschool eval on Friday, it may happen sooner than expected. I guess I’ll find out about our school systems on a more personal level then.

    I wanted to teach high school English while I was in college. I even hung out with my favorite English teacher from high school one day while he taught class and worked with students on their portfolios for the state’s assessment. It was interesting and made me want to help kids even more. (Although I am not doing anything remotely close these days!)

    I just really hope that Roxy has a love of all things written like I do when she gets older. I want her to read and write stories to keep her imagination alive and active.

  5. Debi

    I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and now that I have my credential, getting hired is another story. My dream school is Aspire Public Schools. Their motto is College For Certain and it’s their goal to have 100% of their graduates be accepted to a 4-year university. They have met that goal for the last 2 years. The population they serve are mostly hispanic, low-income families. I want to make a difference.

  6. Purnima

    My teachers were wonderful and I had a great childhood academically and otherwise too. My English grammar teacher always recommended books out of curriculum to us because she knew our potentials were beyond the school bar. My son is the same today. he is just 6 and he already reads. He graduated out of KG last year. In India KG starts at 3.5.
    I have always wanted to be a writer and I am already there.

  7. June Saraceno

    My son is in college. He doesn’t know any of his teachers outside of the classroom, which is disappointing to me (he is a junior at UC Santa Cruz). His typical class size is still in triple digits. I know it has much to do with budget cuts in education, and I am sympathetic to the overwhelming demand on faculty, but I had hoped for better. Connecting to teachers who care about you as an individual is a hugely important element of education at any level. It seems beyond the current price tag for upper education these days, however.

  8. Kisatrtle

    It is awesome that you are so involved in your child’s education. Sadly for every involved parent there is a handful who do not care. Every year, in the cafeteria, I see students in grades K-3 who cannot tell the difference between peas and green beans. Who have no idea that pears and apples are different. Who cannot zip their coats. Who eat Bannanas without peeling them because no one ever told them they had to. These kids will be in your sons class and they will demand the attention of the teacher. They will be required to meet the same benchmarks as your boy. She will likely have no help. She will likely have a class of 25 five year olds. It is not our education system that is failing it is our parenting.

  9. Djrelat7

    Stopping by from write on Edge…First thing first, I applaud you for pushing your son. I think a vital part in a child’s learning is through the parent. If a parent is not involved it makes a significant difference in their learning. Second, I agree, the school systems of today are not what they once were. Rumor has it in my school district, that new school books have been ordered, but the teachers hand out photo copies of the pages they are working on, because ‘the kids will mess them up.’ I do not have kids yet, but I have nieces and a nephew. I see first hand some of the stuff my niece comes home with. She is a bright girl, but I honestly think she doesn’t do as well as I know she could because the standards are set so low…she’s bored. I was fortunate enough to be apart of a program when I was in elementary school that supplemented what we did in our regular classrooms. We were pushed to extremes but we all did well. We all went on to good high schools, where we were involved in programs that pushed us harder than the regular classes. This carried us into college and into our current respective careers. The school system now is not like that. Parents don’t care, teachers care but are overwhelmed. Lack of funding, lack of this, lack of that, everyone has complaints but no solutions. Educational funding for schools should be a state’s top priority but it seems to have fallen to the wayside. I fear what the system will look like when my children are born into this world. Fortunate for them they will have a mom and dad that will push them and find a school that will do the same. Great post and I am putting this book on my To read list.

  10. Pingback: Allow me to explain… | Unintentionally Brilliant

Comments are closed.