(Not) just another brick in the wall


Theofanis Rauch (12) writes the title of the most current book he read on the back wall of Mrs. Kathryn Clark’s classroom. Rauch sat in the back of the classroom, closest to what has been deemed the “reading wall.”

Samantha Gross and lakecentralnews

It is not every day that one sees an entire class of English students take to the wall with Sharpie markers and fill the bricks with colorful text. In Mrs. Kathryn Clark’s AP English 11, Film Literature and World Literature classes, they are doing exactly that.

For the past few weeks, Clark has been providing her classes with markers with which they can write book titles they have read outside of class on the back wall of her classroom.

“Since the school is being torn down, I wanted to do something inspirational with my classroom before it’s gone. I started reflecting on my career and the parts of it I love, and my mind kept going back to reading. The idea of a reading wall seemed like the perfect fit for an English classroom. I want students to feel proud of themselves for pursuing an intellectual activity in their free time,” Mrs. Clark said.

The student’s reaction to the rare opportunity was an encouraging one.

“I thought it was cool because [the school is] just going to be torn down anyway, so we might as well take advantage of it. It gets more kids involved in reading and makes it more interesting,” Michelle Gentz (12) said.

The results of the wall activity go far beyond the pure joy of teacher-recommended vandalism.

“I think the reading wall has had a positive effect on my students. I have seen many students admiring the books others have read, and several have said to me that they want to read something to put it on the wall. The reading wall has been a system to provide encouragement to students who don’t always receive encouragement,” Mrs. Clark said.

The ongoing class activity has gained the attention of many students, not just those who were interested in reading from the get-go.

“I think there’s an element of a vandal in all of us, so the student’s immediately took to the idea of writing on the walls, and I figured why not channel that desire into something constructive and inspirational,” Mrs. Clark said.