Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hope is never far behind!

Check out this touching story from one of my colleagues. We could always use a little more hope this time of the year, especially when spring seems so far away!

Sometimes putting one foot in front of the other is the hardest thing to do, especially at this time of the year when the snow won’t leave us alone and spring feels like it is so far away and never mind how far away the end of the school year feels.  On another day of bone-chilling cold and an endless horizon of snow, I wanted to share with all of you amazing people a posting from my friend, Laura Lynn Smith Benson, who lost her 12-year brother on March 3, 1974, when a Turkish Airlines plane crashed shortly after taking off from a Paris airport…and her words while tinged with sadness; sparkle with hope and possibility.  I hope that each and every one of you realizes the importance of what you do and the difference that you make, each and every day.  Thank you!

“Forty years ago today, I was called. Forty years ago today, I learned that reading can save your life. Forty years ago, I knew I had to help give children - all children everywhere - the light of literacy. To save their lives. To save the lives of those they would serve. You see, a French man gave me my path. My life's mission.

Over a deer forest outside of Paris, my brother's airplane broke open. 364 beloved souls - mamas and grandfathers, soccer pals and sisters, daughters and baby brothers - were violently tossed to the Earth. The right rear cargo door had not been latched properly by the French mechanic assigned to this task. He could not read the directions for closing the DC 10's cargo door. And because of his reading void, I lost my best friend, my brother, and, for a while, my energy to live. Because this French man could not read, thousands of us became orphans, childless, widowers, or half selves.

I think of this French man now. I think of the guilt he has endured and hurdled over as he tries to go about the daily tasks of his life. The toxic swill of shame eating at his spirit every day. For forty years. All because the gift of reading was not given to him. All because the words were mysterious symbols rather than clarifying messages.

Taking this journey has not been easy. I share what I believe is part of the French man's journey. Learning to read was elusive and hard and shaming for me. Whether it was because I was the very youngest kid in class, or because I moved over a dozen times, or because I struggled with undiagnosed learning difficulties, or all of these, reading felt like trying to hold my breath under water. The words were hard to hold on to and even harder to understand. Stringing together beads of words was a ssssllllllooooowwwww process.

I could see everyone in my class flying through books. I could see my classmates run through all the SRA kits. They got to the aqua, silver, and even the gold levels. I was stuck in the potty colors. Stuck in the mud of black ink on a page. Forever.

Luckily forever turned into Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and Charlotte's Web. Eleanor Roosevelt and Helen Keller. If You Could See What I Hear. Words turned into joy and light and laughter, too.

The path took longer. I knew that. And now, as a literacy teacher, I can see the wisdom in giving me that long journey. Because I struggled, I can come to students with a knowing heart. I can share ideas with colleagues with compassion and hope. I can give my students my brother's Tigger sense of humor. And I fuel every step with the French man's legacy in my life.

For Ronnie, for the 17 souls of our school, the American School in London, for the 364 passengers and crew of that Turkish Airlines flight, for that French man, all of us who lead and guide and nurture the awakening of words in our students' minds and spirits, thank you from a full and grateful heart. You are saving lives. You carry my love and awe with you forever. You save lives with your teaching. Never forget that.”

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