Taking the Time to Read

Last night I had trouble sleeping because I’d been reading Dracula before bed. I’d just read that bit where (spoiler alert!) Jonathan Harker sees Count Dracula lean out of a window in the castle and scale down the wall like a lizard. Weird. Even weirder though, is the fact that I’ve never read Dracula before. I’ve been an English teacher for 8 years, I studied English Literature at university and yet I have never read Bram Stoker’s classic.

Why?

I suppose the main reason is that it was A) Never a set-text for my own studies and B) Never one of the novels I’ve had to teach. That’s not to say I’ve only read books that I’ve studied or taught – that would be madness! No, it’s because, like a lot of “classics”, when given the choice between reading one of those or another novel, I’ve often assumed that I already know the story so I’ve opted for something new and unknown. Not an approach to reading that I would encourage but when time for leisurely activities is at a premium, it’s a trap that I have fallen into.

Which leads me to this week’s blog. I have taken up the 44 Week Writing Challenge here on Staffrm because I love writing but can often not think of what to write (or I assume that what I have to say has already been said and who would want to listen to me anyway?) I was excited to see that a list of weekly topics had been provided so that first stumbling block was removed. Until I saw this week’s title: Local Differences. Stumbling block well and truly back in place. I’ve only ever worked in one school. I have no idea how we do it differently. I puzzled and I pondered, I browsed Staffrm and read some of the other great posts under the Local Differences hashtag but still couldn’t find my voice.

I went to my bedroom to pick up Dracula and do some more reading (lesson planning for the day thankfully completed) and I was reminded that the only reason I had this book by my bedside was because I had made a resolution to read more books this year. Dracula is my 7th since January. That may not sound like a lot to some but I haven’t read this habitually since I was 14. It is the first time in my 8-year career of encouraging and helping others to read, that I have consistently had a book on the go. And I LOVE it. It’s my attempt to reclaim some me-time, some Teacher5aDay time, some semblance of who I was and what I enjoyed before teaching took over my life.

I’m not sure if this post has a point, or a message. But that’s ok. I wanted something to write about, so I read a book. Which now I need to get back to…

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