Retired Albion teacher publishes book, featuring student reflections from 7th grade
‘The book is a resource for anyone dealing with transitioning students. Teachers and parents can often be bewildered by their 7th grader and changes in attitude.’
Former Albion Middle School students who had John Adriance for 7th grade Social Studies may remember well writing a paragraph about themselves during the first week of the school year.
Adriance taught at Albion from 1979-2006 and recently compiled an e-book with the help of his son Patrick, which features 165 of the paragraphs and is entitled, “There Are a Lot of Things I Could Tell You About Myself, But I’ll Keep It Short: Expectations, Self Perceptions, Aspirations, and Concerns on the Eve of 7th Grade.”
The paragraphs were selected out of over 2,700 which Adriance reviewed. The names of the students who wrote the paragraphs are kept private, he says, and explains that the paragraph writing assignment served a number of purposes.
“I wanted to get to know the students, their likes and dislikes so that I wouldn’t offend them,” Adriance says. “I wanted them to know I was interested in them and that I cared.”
The paragraph also provided Adriance with a sample of the students’ writing, enabling him to assess their grammar and communication skills.
Adriance saved all the paragraphs he collected over his 27 years at Albion and eventually began to consider compiling a book of them.
“The book is a resource for anyone dealing with transitioning students,” Adriance said. “Teachers and parents can often be bewildered by their 7th grader and changes in attitude.”
Seventh grade is a time of great changes for young people as they begin adolescence and move from childhood to adulthood. Young people become more social and their friendships change, Adriance observed, some begin to have boyfriends and girlfriends.
He said the paragraphs reflect the emotional and physical changes 7th graders experience and range from the unusual to the thought-provoking, providing a unique and personal window into the world of young people ages 11 and 12.
“The book helps one to learn what they value and what concerns them,” Adriance said. He added that many of the same issues came up over the nearly 30 years of paragraphs, while other things changed – more students coming from broken families, for example, and less and less use of cursive handwriting.
Adriance worked with his son, Patrick, a 1994 graduate of Spencerport Central High School, to edit and publish the book. Patrick also provided 16 illustrations for the book designed to compliment the thoughts that are conveyed and to create a humorous vision in the reader’s mind.
Patrick, who lives in North Carolina, said he enjoyed working with his dad on the project.
“I was blown away that my dad had saved all of these student passages from his entire career,” Patrick said. “To me, it just shows his dedication and love of teaching.”
Patrick said both he and his dad learned a lot about the process of publishing e-books and found formatting the illustrations proved especially challenging, but he hopes to publish more e-books in the future.
“There Are a Lot of Things I Could Tell You About Myself, But I’ll Keep it Short” was published in December 2017 through Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes and Nobel. Click here for the Amazon link to the book.
Adriance said his years of teaching at Albion were very rewarding and he enjoyed the 7th grade age group.
“They are a nice group to teach,” he said. “They are still open-minded.”