How to: Stay in Love with Reading as an English Teaching Major (As told by Hyperbole and a Half Cartoons)

As an English teaching major in my senior year of college (somewhat…I’ll be done soon), I have often faced my biggest fear: falling out of love with English. 


It started like all relationships. I became infatuated. I read… and read and read and read and read. There weren’t enough books assigned in school or on the library shelf to satisfy my hunger so I wrote…and wrote and wrote and wrote all the stories that didn’t exist but I wanted to read. I was a written word junkie, I tell you!


So when it came time to pick my college major, I knew it had to involve English. Originally I just chose teaching because I needed to make money. I was idealistic, but I knew that the world wouldn’t just automatically pay me for reading. I had to trick them into paying me! As a teacher, I would get to read and write and get to talk about both all while doing this:


So basically I outsmarted the system. I breezed through my required core classes, just waiting for my opportunity to sit in high-level English classes and chat with other academics and feed my love of literature and learning!!!!

I had my early English classes that were SUPER easy, and I was essentially conquering the world one sonnet at a time.



Then my classes started getting harder. They wanted me to read more, and the material was harder. Obviously, I knew this would happen. But what I didn’t realize was that I would get burnt out on something I once loved. Instead of being excited to learn about new works, I didn’t even read them. I didn’t even show up to class. It seemed boring and useless. I had had too much! I was trying to focus on being in every school activity, have a social life, and waste time on the internet so I left myself no time for my English work. At that time, I was also beginning the classes for my education minor. Instead of being all “YAY! Teaching is great!”, my first class was taught by an abrasive professor who basically told us we were stupid and racist. I thought the class was a good idea, but it made me miserable. Something was wrong. I HATED everything about my major. I didn’t know what to do.



This would continue for months. Couple that with depression and anxiety, and a job I hated, and I was in a crappy situation. I started to like my classes and become interested, but I had no drive. I knew everything that was covered in my classes, but I never turned in the assignments. My mind was screaming at me to stop, but I couldn’t do anything. It felt like I was suffocating. I knew that in order for my life to get better, I had to make a change. No. CHANGES!



I cut out everything that was making me unhappy. I quit my crappy job. I stopped doing things that weren’t helping me. I started re-focusing on what I wanted and how I was going to achieve my goals.

As far as English, I took a SINGLE summer class. We met once a week for a few weeks, and I absolutely loved it. The professor showed us new ways to utilize technology in the classroom, and I actually READ the books we were assigned. It felt like I was cleaning a filthy window, and I could finally see!

I read and read and read over the summer, and fell in love again. This fall, I have a class on teaching literature, and I actually get to teach a REAL classroom of REAL students in a REAL school. By finally getting to experience and learn about what I want to do for the rest of my life, and it was AWESOME!



So, for now, I’m back in love with English. I’ve stopped viewing it as a chore and started viewing it as a privilege. I took a break from it. Yes, it’s OK to not love it all the time! I didn’t know this so I’m telling you. It’s fine to not want to read every word ever written. It’s alright if you hate doing mindless assignments or even assignments at all. I learned that a rut is not the end of my life. There will be ruts throughout my life, but I will NOT allow them to stop me from doing what I want!



After actually getting to do what made me excited again, I’m ready to tackle it head on. I’m not going to lie and say that I do all of my homework or do it with a smile, but I’m better. When I got to talk to students about why English is awesome, I was like- holy crap, I’m RIGHT!




Getting to talk about and practice for a real classroom made everything seem real. I was no longer just learning the basics of driving, I was behind the wheel!


Read these comic in their actual context and laugh your head off at:


Disturbing Statistics on Reading

I was in the middle of spending a large portion of my life on Pinterest the other day (follow me here), I came across this infographic about reading. Allow me to address each statistic.


1. I think once people graduate high school they think: YES! NO MORE HOMEWORK!!! Unless they continue onto higher education, this is exactly the case. Who is there to make them read? Even during higher education, there’s no incentive to actually read books when there are saviors like SparkNotes around. Unless you’re an English major like myself, why would you read a book? My significant other is actually proud of the lack of books he has read in his life. How do we prevent this? As a teacher, it is my job to inspire lifelong learning which includes lifelong reading. We need to adapt the curriculum so that our students see reading as fun instead of punishment. I say this as a kid who HATED reading in school because of the assigned material. It was like torture. Why would I willingly torture myself?! I think a great way to help students overcome this struggle is to introduce them to books OUTSIDE of the classroom. Let them free read or pick from a variety of books.

2. Post-college you are forreal home free. You’re “done” with reading for class or any other reason. Eventually you get caught up in life and grown-up business and forget that there is an entire book-verse out there waiting to be read! A great thing my public library does to engage adult readers is a One Book One Community event each year. They select a book for the entire community to read, and the author comes and talks and autographs books. They also host social gatherings to discuss the books. Reading as an adult can be fun! I swear! Pick a book with friends. It doesn’t have to be Dickens. It can be anything. And you can have adult beverages and yummy snacks. It’s a win-win.

3. Why are we not reading books to completion? There can be a lot of reasons. Sometimes a book isn’t interesting, and you just have to move on. Sometimes books are just super long. I love reading, but let’s face it: some books are INCREDIBLY LONG! It can be daunting. If you have problems finishing books, try reading a series of smaller novels. You get to read the same amount of pages and get that Finished Book Feeling. E-readers can be another solution. I’m an e-reader convert because they’re SO convenient. Read them on the bus. Read them on the treadmill. Wherever!

4. I personally can’t understand not walking into a bookstore. The smell. The books. It’s heavenly. BUT the book industry is changing. I remember frequenting a Borders within the last five years, and those don’t even exist anymore! Bookstores are becoming increasingly rare in this day and age (said in an old lady voice). People have e-readers and buy their books online. There just isn’t a market for bookstores to stay open anymore. Hopefully, they never become extinct because there is nothing like perusing a bookstore in real life.

5. I can see that families aren’t buying or reading books anymore. One, books are expensive! I would love to fill my bookshelves with books, but I’m a poor college student. If I can’t buy them, and they’re practically my drug, I can’t imagine people with limited interest spending money on them. With tense economic situations dominating many households, it’s no wonder that books have taken a backseat.

6. I couldn’t agree more. I can honestly say that I have learned about others through reading. It teaches empathy and gives new perspective on lives a reader may never encounter. It’s important that we teach young readers to read so they can become empathetic, educated adults. We must create LIFELONG LEARNERS!

7. This is a pretty incredible statistic. I think that potential readers often shy away from reading because it appears as an obstacle. You have to read SO many pages, and it takes SO much time. If we spend a FRACTION of the time we spend messing around online or watching TV reading, we could be international experts. Sounds very James Bond. If that’s not enough to get you reading, I don’t know what is!

My Teaching Philosophy

For my education class, we have to come up with our philosophy on teaching.

The thing is the more I learn about being an educator, the more emotional I get. Sometimes I feel like I can’t wait to be a teacher, and other times I feel terrified to stand in front of my own class. It’s a HUGE job! And in a week or so I’ll begin my field experience where I go into a class and (hopefully) get to experience teaching some high school students. Or grade papers. Either way, I’m excited to learn!

I now have to think about what KIND of teacher I’ll be. Some days I feel like I’ll be this teacher:



Other days I’m all:



I’m hoping I can pave the road to teaching heaven with good intentions because there’s nothing I love more or am more passionate about.

SO here’s my official (for now) teaching philosophy:

I do not like to limit learning to one type of learning in a classroom. I am more of a non- traditionalist. I want my students to know that learning is constantly taking place and that exchanging ideas and experiencing new things and learning from other people is part of being educated. I think it is important for the teacher to give clear expectations to students so that students can rise to the occasion and become self-sufficient learners. Teachers should use discussion often in the classroom to help expand students’ knowledge and also allow the students to form critical thinking skills. I believe teachers must make an effort to get to know their students as individuals and their classes as a whole so that they can tailor their lessons accordingly. In order to best reach students, a teacher must do their best to be knowledgeable about their subject area, teaching techniques, and new technology. It’s important to always be learning and evolving so that students can follow that example. Teachers should be flexible, caring, and knowledgeable. Ultimately my goal as a teacher is to develop independent students who care about their world, are curious, and are critical thinkers. 

I’d like to hear from you about what you think makes a good or bad teacher. Maybe you could share your memories of your favorite/ least favorite teachers?