My high school teachers read in public.
They would read the newspaper, books, or articles in the halls, in their rooms, or just sitting on a bench randomly. I can still picture my civics teacher reading the newspaper every day as I came into her class. When I went back to substitute teach at my junior high school, she told me “not enough teachers read anymore Matthew; it’s a terrible thing!” When I got to college my professors would often be reading in their offices or randomly around campus. Conspicuous reading was normal. I’m not sure anyone thought about it much, but it definitely impacted us.
Why don’t we read in public anymore?
My guess is that teachers don’t want to appear “lazy” like all they do is sit around and read the paper all day or that as time has gone on, teachers have more and more duties during a school day, so that they have almost no time for reading.
Why is a lack of conspicuous reading a problem?
We need to model anything we want our students to do.
If teachers are reading less, they are learning less, and they won’t be able to reinvest what they’ve recently learned into their students. We want our teachers to read, improve themselves, and grow as people so that they can get better themselves and help their students improve.
How do we reverse this trend?
A simple solution would be for teachers to begin reading in public again. We could call this conspicuous reading? Teachers on their preps once a week could choose to do professional or for fun reading in view of students. We could start in our English and history departments and work from there. This would be a great way for kids to be able to see what educated adults do and model the behavior that we want them to engage in!