My name is Taylor Anderson and I hail from a couple different locations. Although I was born in Tulsa, OK my family moved to Lawrence, KS when I was in second grade and that became my adopted home town. I earned my undergrad degree in literature at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, which is confusing to most people since Lawrence University is not in Lawrence, KS, although the University of Kansas is. After I graduated I moved to Chicago and come this November I will have lived here for five years. I currently work at a law firm down town (Baker McKenzie) as a file clerk – a job which is about as thrilling as the title sounds. I should add that I’ve never been interested in pursuing a career in law so the circumstances of my employment are dubious at best. In my free time I volunteer at a wonderful literacy organization called Open Books and that is where I realized I wanted to help students read as a profession. If you look up the numbers, a startlingly large number of people both young and old read well below their age level and it is my hope that as a teacher I can help people lead more fulfilling lives through reading.
I’m interested in teaching middle school because far too often you hear or see students saying that there aren’t any books out there that interest them. Simply put, I believe that is not the case. Rather, I think these students have not been shown the books which will truly interest them and which will show them that reading is not a labor if you are given the right material. There are several excellent young adult authors writing today who are composing books that are both intellectually stimulating and entertaining. It is my hope that as a middle school teacher I can help my students uncover the books that will interest them which in turn will help to make them lifelong readers and thinkers. In many ways this reflects the pedagogical approaches I hope to use in my future classroom. I believe that students learn best when they are able to take an active part in their education as opposed to having it thrust upon them. This being said, I think a student centered approach to education is an excellent way to teach students since it helps them discover for themselves all of the interesting things there are to know and think about in the world.
Lastly, and somewhat a reflection of the pedagogical approach I believe in, I would like to share with you all the meaning of the name of my blog. My title comes from a poem entitled “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock” which was written by the excellent poet Wallace Stevens. The poem itself reads:
The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
In red weather.
Stevens, as exemplified in this poem, has a flare for creativity that sometimes borders on the humorous but always has a deeper meaning to it. I hope my students (and I!), like Stevens, always remember to push the boundaries of creativity and thought while remembering that learning and understanding, no matter the subject or level, is something fun and worth perusing.