Friday, April 29, 2016

Maintain. Hope. Read.

I glanced at his face and wondered what this means for him 10 or 15 years from now. Leg shaking. Face pensive with a half smile. He's trying, but there's not much he can do. All the while, I try to encourage him, affirm him when he reads a word that he actually recognizes, but it feels artificial. Inside I'm still worried for him. Worried that he will be one of the ones--the ones who end up on the disassembly [school-to-prison pipe]line. He's in third grade and I'm wondering this. Thinking this. Some part of me is ashamed for thinking this, but inside I'm bawling because he thinks he can't read much of this state-mandated test that is sitting before him.

"Every child can read. If they can read their name or K-Mart or McDonald's, they can read!" That comment from an educator who attended a coaching institute with me a few weeks ago pops into my mind! Hope. Maintain hope. Maintain hope for his future. Maintain hope for his current and future teachers, that someone gets it to click for him. Maintain hope that the work that his current teacher has done with him to get him to the point of being able to recognize more sight words this year than he ever, will keep the momentum going with him. He needs this. Learning to read and building his confidence to get him there is life or death for him. Sound extreme? It is. That's the stance we have to take with our kids because if we don't...what's next?

And still I have to forget about how this time spent taking this test is wasting crucial time that could be spent teaching him more. I want to toss out this test that sits in front of him and give him some magnetic letters to mix and fix. Show him games that will make him forget that he's learning, but that move him forward. Hope. Remembering that there is more to teach him, more that he can learn so that he gets life, not death.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


"Inc." Those are the letters I'd write at the top of students' papers when their work was undone/incomplete. Usually, those letters would be followed by "Please finish." That's what my Slice of Life Challenge blog would receive if I were scoring it. I had all the intentions of blogging everyday for 31 days, but my fall-off happened well-before my spring break--which left my blog untouched for the entire ten days I was off. I could feel some sense of shame having not completed a project I set out to. Instead, I am choosing to focus on the fact that I blogged 13 whole times in March! Here's to my success in doing that much and my motivation for doing better on my Slice of Life Challenge in 2017! I read on recently that the most creative minds embrace failure and see it as one step closer to success. There's also a pretty similar article from 2013 on that says the same thing: embrace our fears because "doing so is what allows us to leave our biggest impact on the world." This was a frightening thing: allowing others to read my writing that I have practiced very little, yet and still, I did it and will continue to do so as I Slice on.