Ms. Stahlke and the Power of Reading

photo provided by Ms. Stahlke

“The power of reading didn’t hit me until I started teaching,” said Ms. Stahlke, an English teacher at Silver Creek who currently teaches English 1 and ERWC. She found this power when choosing books that were interesting to herself or related to something that she was experiencing instead of being forced to read something.“Reading can be fun, and a way to empathize with others by seeing the world from someone else’s point of view” said Stahlke.

When asked what was her favorite part about teaching, she replied that the students were her favorite part about teaching. “All the dad jokes, wild comments, ‘aha’ moments, and community built is the best part about my job”, replied Stahlke. It’s where some of her fondest memories of teaching originated from. During her first year of teaching, Stahlke gave her class a slam poem assignment. After the class shared their poems, she was blown away by the creativity, how wonderful they are, and the wide range of topics they cover. “That was a defining moment in my teaching philosophy because when students have choice and power over what they can do with their learning–they do really amazing things,” commented Stahlke on the assignment.  Of course teaching English is like a rollercoaster. According to Stahlke, there are “lots of ups and downs but always a fun, wild ride.”One of these downs is grading. “I just think the way school systems have always done grades detracts from the playfulness and mistakes of learning,” Stahlke remarked.

Like many others, Stahlke had to adapt to the restrictions brought on by the pandemic. This includes getting used to distance learning which, in her eyes, is “ a hot mess” but notes the comfort and freedom of working from home. This pandemic also brought her a bunch of freetime which she used to get pretty good at putting together 1000 piece puzzles.

Of course during these times, students are struggling with school. So when asked what’s some advice for students who are struggling currently in English, Stahlke responded that they are doing it right. Students are supposed to struggle in English in order to find your own style and flavor. The same could be said for college but with more work in terms of writing and reading.

Due to the fact that Stahlke had a lot of freetime during the pandemic, she has read a lot of books and one of these books is currently her favorite. It’s Untamed by Glennon Doyle. The book is about finding and listening to your inner conscience coupled with the fun and complicated experiences of being a woman. When asked what books Stahlke would recommend, she replied, “I would have to know someone before I could recommend a book to them. Not all books work for the same people.” However, she would recommend Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, or Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde as someone could really learn something from these books.

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