Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Power of Yet

     Little Miss Sparkle Shorts tried really hard to focus on tracing her letters and coloring the book Teacher had given them to do that morning. However, the activity she usually loved doing, coloring, was proving to be torture right then. You see, after Teacher sang the song in the book, showed them how to trace the letters and color the pages, she told them that she was going to take some special time with each one of them and hear them read.  As soon as she heard that word "read" her heart began to pound rapidly and it became harder to hold the crayons in her sweaty hand. With every name Teacher sang out her heart skipped a beat, her ears perked up and she became even more nervous. Her name was coming up. She knew it. Soon it would be her turn to "read". But she couldn't read and she didn't want anyone to know that. Especially her new teacher.
      She knew some of the names of letters and she knew what they said, but putting them together was really, really tough and confusing and...she was scared.

     Then the time came. Teacher sang out her name. She pressed the little light on her table that warned the kids in her class that she was busy and not to bother her. It was her turn to have "special time" with her teacher.  Teacher smiled at her as she walked to her table. "Hi honey," she said. "It's time for me to hear you read." Little Miss Sparkle Shorts stared down at the table as she sat down. She looked up at Teacher. Should she tell her? Should she tell her that she couldn't read? She sat there for what seemed an eternity. Teacher asked her what was the matter. She looked up at her and said the words she was ashamed to say. "I don't know how to read." She whispered. She stared at Teacher and Teacher stared at her. Then, a smile formed on her teacher's face. "Honey, I'm going to add a word to the end of that sentence you just said to me. I want you to repeat after me, okay? I don't know how to read..." She repeated each word then her teacher paused, looked at her and added, "Yet." And she said the word, yet.

     Then Teacher she said these words to her. "You see, in this class there are going to be a lot of things you can't do, yet. And I bet there will be lots of things you think you can't do but you can. You will surprise yourself and me too. So repeat after me. I don't know how to read, yet!"

     So with that little word Little Miss Sparkle Shorts felt the weight of ten firsties lifted off her shoulders. And know what? Teacher told her that she did know how to read. See, she said knowing the sounds those little squiggle lines called letters made...was reading!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Remember, December

It's time to get these writing juices flowing again!

     She heard the sighs of frustration echoing down the hall before she saw their tired faces. The rookies walked into her classroom and she just smiled over the mountain of paperwork on her desk.  They needed her and, well paperwork, it could always wait. It would always be there and people were more important than her assessments, lesson plans, prep work, etc. etc. She closed her plan book and tossed another piece of paper on her to "To Be Filed/ File".  It wavered precariously threatening to spill all the contents of her desk onto the floor. She laid a gentle hand on it, paused a split second and looked at it as if in silent prayer. The pile steadied and happily calmed down and stayed put for her.
 She had that effect on her Kinders too.  
She smiled at the two newbies as she walked around her desk to face them. They didn't need to utter a word. Their looks spoke volumes.
 "I'm the worlds worst teacher. I will never be able to reach these kids. I'm tired. Why did I choose this job? I should quit before I get fired. I can't do this one more day! I don't like children!" 

     One of them spoke up.  "They don't know anything! They don't listen! They are never going to learn how to read and it's going to be all my fault! I don't know what to do anymore! I've tried everything. They just don't get it! Is it too late to change my major?"  She paused, smiled at both of them and said these words...
"Remember, December." They both stared back at her puzzled. "Huh?" "Remember, December." She repeated.  They didn't understand but their curiosity was piqued. The litany of self deprecating words ceased. You could almost hear their eyelids flutter.
 She had that effect on Kinders too.
"What? Remember, December because I will have a break from these Children of the Corn who were put on this earth just to torture me? I would love to throw something at them, alright!" She giggled. "Remember, December." She repeated. "Think about it like this. You're teaching them how to juggle."  "And I'm the head clown!" The other mumbled under her breath. She giggled again and continued.  "Right now you are tossing all these balls at them.  You throw them one and they toss it for awhile and then when they get good at that you toss them another.  They drop the one they got good at tossing. Then slowly, they get good at juggling two and then you toss them another.  They drop two, stop to pick them up and slowly begin to get a grasp of how to juggle three when you toss them another.  You continue to toss them balls and they occasionally drop all of them. They get frustrated and stop playing with the balls altogether. They eventually come back to it because you continue to practice tossing them the balls. You keep at it until one day, usually around December, they start to make sense of it all, put it all together and juggle all of them without any help from you.  It happens slowly but you will see it.  After December, as spring approaches, is when the magic happens and you will see all your hard work come together for them."

So, here's to another fun-filled, hair-pulling, wonderful year! And...
Remember, December!