When I first picked up Mike Rose’s book Lives on the Boundary I felt sort of put off about it at first. I thought it was going to be the same sort of stuff that I’ve been reading in my education class last semester. Basically I expected to feel some sort of guilt trip for having grown up on the more privileged side of the school system (because I’ve often felt that way after reading stories of less fortunate children). However, Rose’s book has surprised me.
The way Rose describes his experiences in this book seem so accessible that anyone who reads it can feel a connection; including myself (I think I used that semicolon wrong but we are going to move past that). I particularly enjoyed the chapter “Literate Stirrings”. In this chapter, Rose talks about the first group of students he taught in the projects. What I liked was how the chapter focused on the students more than Rose himself. Through the eyes of the writer the reader gets to experience the lives of multiple children and their individual struggles in the school system.
Obviously majority of these children were labeled as “problem children” or “below average”. Essentially, these were children who had given up on the school system and whom the school system had given up on. The way Rose approaches these children is truly a joy to read (I would say inspiring but I typically don’t like that word). By reaching out and giving these children the sort of attention that they need, it is evident to the reader of a sort of “literate stirring” among them. It just reminds me of why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place. I believe that to give students (particularly the ones the school system has given up on) a second chance at finding something that speaks to them in school, then we as educators have done our job.
Until next time,