Last night I attended the annual fundraiser Gala for the Boundless Readers Foundation. Boundless Readers, originally Rochelle Lee after its founder, is a Chicago institution and a little bit of a “best kept secret.” The mission of Boundless Readers is to put books in the hands of children and learning in the minds of teachers. They do an excellent job. I have gone from an individual awardee to a study group coach and this summer I will join the ranks of teachers who provide PD workshops to new grant awardees.
There were many speakers who talked about how Boundless Readers has impacted teachers and students over the years. As I listened to them I thought about myself as a new teacher, I thought about the path I have been on. I have been very lucky.
I was lucky to find my second teaching job at an amazing school with a strong professional learning community. I was lucky that this school insisted I become involved with Boundless Readers. I have been lucky to have supportive colleagues and good opportunities to grow. I have been lucky enough to meet and work with internationally known authors and staff developers. So I wonder….what happens to teachers who aren’t lucky?
I tell this to people and they say, Katie you would have been fine no matter where you were! Maybe. I might have been fine, but I wouldn’t have been fortunate, and I wouldn’t have grown the way I have. I wouldn’t know even half of what I know now and I might not have the thirst to learn more that drives me to work long hours into the night.
Organizations like Boundless Readers offer all teachers an opportunity to learn and collaborate regardless of their school climate. When multiple teachers from a school become involved it can completely change the culture of the school for good. And when that box of books arrives children see that they are valued and important enough to get brand new quality literature to read. Perhaps we make our own luck, I just don’t know.