(Post FOKI material is is in italix)
My journey with literature began at a very young age. Reading was a crucial part of my family’s daily life, so the transition to become an avid reader myself was seamless at first. In my early teen years, I gorged myself with books, reading entire novels on a single Saturday and staying up far past bedtime to read by the light of my flashlight. As I entered the heart of my adolescence, however, my adjusting tastes coupled with the rigorous reading lists of honors and AP English classes wore out my love of literature. Reading, to me, became about performance rather than enjoyment.
I still had glimpses of my former love. I could remember the ways that books could consume me, but I began to think of reading like the magic of Christmas; as a child, the holiday seemed whimsical and magical, but each year as I grew older was a letdown compared to the image in my mind. Books became the same. I could still reread books to get that experience, like Alice and Wonderland, (see Journey Book Voicethread), but few new books gave me the same experience.
When I entered college, I began I search for books to read that would grab my attention. I tried reading books in multiple genres, and after much trial and error, I discovered that my evolving taste were leading me towards literary nonfiction titles. There is something about real life that, to me, can be so much more bizarre and fascinating than fiction. I majored in magazine journalism, and my writing and my reading became even more intertwined.
After graduation, my interest in language along with my love of kids and learning lead me to pursue a degree in education. Taking this class, I hope, will provide me a wider repertoire of literary experience and interest that will make me a more effective English educator.
My undergraduate degree is in English writing with an emphasis on literary nonfiction. I did internships and summer jobs in both working with youth and working with words, but never together. Since graduation, the only teaching experience I have thus far is as a paraprofessional in a kindergarten class. I look forward to taking my experience with kids and with literacy and combining them in meaningful ways. (The part of the course that best helped me develop my professional self was the action learning project. Through researching for my lit review lite, I found a lot of interesting information from educators and researchers that will inform my future teaching. In implementing my ALP, I got experience working through literature with young adults. I’d not really had this experience formally in the past, so it too was a big step toward developing my professional self.)
I bring very little experience with Young Adult Literature to the table. As I mentioned before, reading in my teen years was characterized by required reading, and since then I’ve been captivated by memoir, literary journalism, and biography. I’ve read very few books in the genre thus far, but I look forward to broadening my literate self. (I grew exponentially in this area during this short course! For example, I had never in my life read a graphic novel, and reading Stitches for my genre book club opened my eyes to an entirely new genre. I also gained exposure to several young adult books, along with resources to find other YA books that I plan on reading. I’m glad that this class stretched my literature self.)
Being in my early twenties, it has been impossible to avoid being engaged with my virtual self in this digital age. I have been involved in social networking and blogging throughout my teen and young adult years, but it’s only since I started at North Carolina State that my virtual self has really been challenged. I’ve been asked to learn new programs and web 2.0 tools that will enhance my teaching of English, and I look forward to more challenges in this class. (I think the thing that I will take most from this course in relation to my virtual self is blogging, and publicizing blog posts with Twitter. I have tried blogging in the past, but the notion of using my virtual self to enhance my professional self in this way is very exciting to me. I plan on continuing to blog, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to engage in a blogging community through this class. I also grew much more comfortable in juggling multiple digital tools simultaneously, and feel that I’ve grown closer to achieving a clear virtual identity.)
Professional Self: I hope, with this class, to become better versed in what interests my future students. I have been relatively removed from their world for several years now, and I’m looking forward to learning, through books, how to reach each of my students. (The opportunity to interact with teens through literature for my ALP was a great way for me to connect with teens, and will help as I begin student teaching.)
Literate Self: Recently, I have been reading a very small variety of books. I hope to expand my repertoire so that I can knowledgeably engage with students and other teachers about a wider selection of writing. (I’ve certainly taken a huge step forward toward this goal. Of course, I haven’t had time to read all that much in five short weeks, but my eyes have been opened to new genres, as well as resources to find great books!)
Virtual Self: In this class, I already know that I will be challenged by what is asked of me digitally. I hope that I can continue my development into a digital native. I look forward to new ways that I can merge my professional self with my virtual self through developing a strong virtual identity. (Like I said above, being able to blog and interact in an online community through this class has helped me to merge my professional self with my virtual self, and I think I’m well on my way to developing a virtual identity.)
In writing my pre FOKI, I discovered my lack of experience with young adult literature. I struggle to recall even one title that I’ve read that would fit into the genre. I’ve read children’s novels, classic novels for school, and the kinds of books I’ve been interested in as an adult. Going into teaching, however, it is crucial that I can relate to the kinds of reading that my students enjoy. Through this FOKI, I truly discovered my need for this class to be an effective teacher of teens. Bookhenge.