|Welcome to my first post for the Slice of Life challenge 2013 hosted by Two Writing Teachers.|
"I teach for the fire, the moment of ignition, the spark,
the lightbulb of cognition going on in the dark
over an adolescent's head. O beautiful incandescence,
dazzling the dead air all around the room; he tries
and he tries and he tries and BOOM, he gets it
and you can see it in his eyes! I teach for that moment."
- Taylor Mali*
Boys. I have two of my own, but in my profession as a reading specialist, I work with many, many boys who struggle with reading. I'll never forget one particular boy, a student I taught seventeen years ago, because he changed my life. Bobby was in Third grade, and he could not read. He knew his letters, sounds, and he loved listening to stories and discussing them, but all of his knowledge about print had not come together. Worse, he had convinced himself that he would never be a reader. Working with Bobby, I knew that this was untrue. He was a reader, and I needed to try to help him find that part of himself. One day, as I predicted, it "clicked." BOOM. The image of joy and sparkle in his eyes is forever embedded in my mind. In that moment, I became a reading specialist.
Fast forward to the present, and a student who arrived to our school this year in First grade, not knowing his letters or sounds. A joyful child, Danny approaches the task of reading with persistence, despite his frustration with print. We work diligently together, and we celebrate our successes with exploding fist bumps and happy dances. Yesterday, Danny told me to close my eyes while he worked on his writing response in his journal. I obliged, of course, peeking somewhat to make sure he was up to the task at hand. He worked for a long time - minutes - and when he finally told me to open my eyes, this is what I saw...
|"This is a hippopotamus. A hippopotamus has a big name."|
I looked up at him, and he asked, "Did I blow your mind?"
I smiled and said, "BOOM!"
I could see it in his eyes. He got it.
*To read more of Taylor Mali's inspiring words, go to his website (link here).