Hey guys, so I finally managed to complete my fourth professional development book. I can honestly say that reading the professional development books is definitely not as fun as reading my YA novels. That being said I have gained so much knowledge from the professional development books that I have read. My final book was “It’s Never Too Late” by Janet Allen. This book deals a lot with helping your struggling and at-risk students. Janet Allen has a special place in her heart for students that struggle, and she has dedicated a lot of her life to helping these students.
This book mostly covers one year within Allen’s classroom as she takes on the task of being a researching teacher. The first couple of chapters explain how Allen got into teaching struggling students. She pretty much got thrown in to the room and told that has long as the kids weren’t outside of the classroom she could do whatever she wanted. She tells us that a lot of what she discovered in that first year was quite incidental. However, she discovered several things that she would hold on to for the rest of her teaching career.
I think for me the first two chapters spoke to me a lot because they dealt a lot with the first year of teaching. I do hope that I will have more supplies than what Allen had, but I do have some idea of what I can do if I end up in that place. One of the things that was born out of this was the read aloud. Allen had to rifle through closets in order to find books that she could read with her students. Even when she did find books she discovered that she didn’t have enough copies of the books. Because she didn’t have enough books she simply started to read the books to her students. This made a large difference in the attitudes of her students.
I think one of the biggest things I learned from this book is that you have to be careful about what you assume your students know. Allen noticed that she often put her students into a position where they weren’t ready to be. She would ask them to do thing that they had no background knowledge of and this led to problems within the classroom. Allen realized that when she needed to continually model what she is asking her students to do. Modeling has to be a big part of your classroom. When you model what it means to be an active reader and writer it can make a big difference in what your students feel like they can accomplish. Another key is not giving up on your students. You have to continue to try even when it sometimes feel like you can’t anymore. I would say that if you are working with a struggling class of students this book is the place for you to turn.