I’m an English major with a concentration in Secondary Education, meaning my college studies involve figuring out the most effective ways to teach middle school and high school students how to read and write. As you may expect, growing up I always enjoyed reading and writing. Yet, I didn’t always love my middle school and high school English classes. In my experiences, one of the most frustrating feelings was to be told by one of my teachers that my interpretation of a text was incorrect or not what they were looking for. I wondered, how can there be only one correct interpretation of a piece of literature? In my opinion, such an assertion ruins one of the most beautiful aspects of literature.
I love reading literature because it can teach you about yourself, others, and the world around you. Every time someone interacts with a text, they bring with them their own unique experiences and opinions. Therefore, I find it fascinating that all texts can be read through different lenses given the circumstances under which a person interacts with a text. I believe that even a single person’s interpretation of a book can change over time as new knowledge is gained or new ideas are acknowledged. I know it’s very English teacher of me to say, but I really do love working alongside others to find meaning in a text.
The idea that literature is artwork is one idea that I hope to celebrate in my own future classroom. If my students are able to support their ideas with evidence and a logical line of reasoning, I will never fail to praise their thinking and interpretations. I want to encourage all of my students to use their voices to share their thoughts and to never be afraid that their interpretations will be deemed completely incorrect, as I will never be an expert on any text either. In the end, my ultimate wish is for my future students to see that reading and writing can be not just negotiable, but also compelling.