"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." Helen Keller

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Fran Richardson
Welcome to my blog!I'm a teacher in a beautiful, small, rural town. I moved here a few years ago, but I have taught over 20 years in this same small town that is now my home. My experience is in teaching second, third, and fourth grades with one year in sixth grade. I am always reading, learning, and reflecting on what goes on in my classroom. I love the work that I do with the parents, my fellow teachers, and most all-my students.I hope you will enjoy reading my blog.
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Get Inspired, Read A BOOK

Yesterday I finished the book Learn Me Good by John Pearson. This  humorous book was about an engineer who takes a job as a third grade math teacher in a school with high poverty and mobility ( meaning that the kids move  a lot, not as in “upward mobility” AKA “rich” kids). I laughed out loud, many , many times and thought of some of my students ( everybody has had a Marvin), but I guess I kept waiting for that moment where there would be another side of this teacher realized- a profound moment of awakening in the midst of the humor and day-to-day account, but it never happened.
So when I finished I thought “Well, it was  no “The Water is Wide” (  by Pat Conroy)!”

It made me think of books and stories that inspired and encouraged me as a teacher.

When I first started teaching  a long time ago in a town even smaller than where I am  right now, one of my  fellow teacher friends  ( or as we were called  by a veteran teacher,  one of my fellow “baby teachers”)  said  she was telling some stories of the children we taught and their conditions and our struggles and woes as teachers. She related her tales  to one of her high school teachers, and he said “You need to read a book written by one of my classmates.” How funny. Her teacher was a Citadel grad, and that classmate and friend was Pat Conroy.
First, let me tell you that Pat Conroy has written many good books, but unfortunately for many of  you, those books  became movies so you’ve never actually READ one of his many books. Sorry, seeing the movies here doesn’t count. You need to read A Prince of Tides, and trust me, no disrespect to Ms. Barbra Streisand, but the book is even more moving and emotional than what was portrayed on-screen.
The Water Is Wide has a classic ( OLD) version starring a young Jon Voight ( you know Angelina Jolie’s dad for you younger folks). A very good movie, but still…

Conroy wrote the book based on an old folk song. Here’s a version by James Taylor (*sigh*):

“The water is wide, I can't cross o'er
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I”

( lyrics from lyricsfreak.com)

The teacher in the story ( Conroy) tries his very best to give his students  “wings to fly” despite the poverty, racism, and ignorance of  both the island dwellers and the outsiders.

I  also came up with a list of books that involved teachers as characters or teachers as authors. The book Among Schoolchildren  is by an observer in a classroom rather than a teacher,  and  so it is interesting just because it gives a different point of view of the daily lives of a class and its teacher that was followed for a year. Other books about teaching that are noteworthy are linked below.

My final category is my own “I’ve seen the movie, but I’ve never read the book.”  I loved the movie Freedom Writers, and here is the book the movie is based on.

Finally, I am adding something I came across yesterday as I was looking over my Daddy’s Wake Forest Alumni Magazine. What an incredible story about a teacher ( yes, GOOD COACHES ARE GREAT TEACHERS) whose selflessness is inspiring. Read  “The Gift” here:


Technorati Tags: Pat Conroy, Marva Collins, Wake Forest University, " The Water is Wide", teaching



"I bear the flame that enlightens the world. I fire the imagination. I give might to dreams and wings to the aspirations of men."
- Marva Collins, from her poem, "I Am Excellence."

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