All kidding aside, my involvement with Novel Novice has been an adventure that I am so proud and honored to be a part of. It all started in May 2008. I was ending my second year of teaching in Suffolk, Virginia. When I started teaching I had my hands full. I was working at a school that had earned itself quite the reputation (rather unfairly I might add). I was told on my very first day, by a fellow teacher no less, that I wouldn’t make it through the year because the kids were rotten and had no future.
Needless to say, I’m not the type of person to go down without a fight. I spent my first year struggling to know the population I was working with and contemplating how to best reach them. I wasn’t the most successful first year teacher. When my second year started, I learned one of the most important things any teacher could learn—-I learned how to listen. I found out what kind of movies and television shows they were interested in. These movies and shows were narratives, just different than the written form they were being asked to devour. A student suggested I read The Twilight Series and I discovered a gold mine. I became obsessed with YA lit, always searching for a compelling story to use in the classroom to inspire my students to read on their own.
I even suggested the students help me start a blog surrounding The Twilight Series. We did everything from a comic series to commercials (all incorporating our Standards of Learning). I was thrilled that my 8th grade students, some who tested at 2nd and 3rd grade reading levels, were reading multiple 500 plus page books. When our little blog got mentioned by Twilight Lexicon, my students really flipped out.
I began to think it would be neat to expand the blog from simply a Twilight themed site to a YA themed blog. Students and teachers needed a place to share recommendations and lesson ideas. We live in a media savvy world and any teacher who doesn’t embrace this world is doing his or her students a disservice. While hosting our Team Edward v Team Jacob Elections (focusing on the Electoral College), I received my first e-mail from Sara who loved the idea of the project and provided some great graphics.
As life became more and more busy for me (I started both a Drama Club and Beta Club at my school AND began planning a wedding), Sara stepped up and designed and planned out the launch of Novel Novice. It’s really her baby. I’m kinda like the hip grandmother…or something. 🙂 On a daily basis, I am impressed and enthralled with the work Sara and the other contributors who work on the site come up with. Hands down, Novel Novice is the MOST comprehensive and creative YA site around.
I’m just lucky to say I work on the staff 🙂