Summer Reading to Keep Our Spirits Alive

by | 07.6.20

Ciji Thurman is a teacher in Kentucky. Follow her on Twitter @ciji_thurman.

Right now, I see a lot of my fellow teachers learning more about anti-racist teaching practices. There is a need for many of us to become more knowledgeable. So often, we don’t see the big picture. We don’t understand other people’s experiences if their experiences are not a part of the world we live in – or the world we think we live in.

For that reason, it is important to be aware of what is going on around us. One way we can do that is by reading. Because of the pandemic, things look different for us this summer. That makes this a great time to pick up a book and read – for both pleasure and growth. 

I know, I know: So often the books we turn to for growth can be dry and hard to get through. But there are books out there that are both thought-provoking and easy summer reads. If you want to start somewhere, I recommend, “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. Even if you have read it, consider reading it again and looking at it through a different lens – or, hey! If you’re a movie watcher, watch the movie.

When I read about education specifically, I’m always most attracted to books that share first-hand experiences, like “Drumming to the Beat of Different Marchers: Finding the Rhythm for Differentiated Learning,” by Debbie Silver, and “Go See the Principal: True Tales from the School Trenches,” by Gerry Brooks.

Is there a book or other resource you would recommend to fellow educators looking to grow this summer? Share your recommendation here, and Teacher2Teacher will share some back!

I also want to acknowledge that for some of us, particularly my fellow Black educators, being able to continue our anti-racist work in the fall might be a matter of using our summer reading time for pure relaxation and restoration. For me, reading is a way to take time for me. I personally love reading mysteries and psychological thrillers (especially anything by James Patterson). Reading is my self-care, my calm. I can sit down with a book that’s not school related and just enjoy myself. 

I suggest that we all look within ourselves and evaluate what we need to read this summer. Whatever you read, make sure that it keeps your spirit alive. Through all of this, let’s always practice empathy – and love. I am with you!

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