Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"I am a dog."

Ok, I need to clarify something. Despite my whining and complaining, and despite my constant state of stress and exhaustion, I don't really hate my job. Sure, we have unrealistic expectations laid on our backs week after week. Yeah, we have to work our rears off to earn every single cent we're paid. And I might as well just stick a bed in the corner of my classroom 'cause it will save time (no commuting) and money (darn high-priced gas). So call me crazy when I say I actually like it. Maybe that's 'cause I know I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

It's the actual teaching I love. Seeing a child go from not recognizing one letter from another to writing their own sentences within five months. And that's no exaggeration!

Aris, one of my LEP students (Limited English Proficiency), barely knew any letters and sounds back in August. She's quiet and one of those that's easy to overlook in a class full of . . . challenges. But I worked with her as I could and had my aide work with her and, most importantly, her parents at home. She came every Saturday to tutorials and rarely missed school. I worried that still wasn't enough. I knew she got the letters and their sounds down a couple of months ago. And earlier in January she read a beginning reader book to me. That was amazing!

AND THEN, on Friday she brought her journal over to me. She didn't say anything, which is her style, and just pointed at what she had written. I asked her to read it to me. She said, "I. am. a. dog."

"Wow," I replied. "Did you write that?"

She emphatically nodded her head and I just smiled while thinking, Yeah right.

You see, LEP students don't usually write grammatically correct sentences. LEP students don't usually say grammatically correct sentences. Especially SIX YEAR OLD LEP students. Plus, Aris' sentence began with a capital letter, ended with a period, and contained spaces between real words. An unusual occurance for an English-language Kindergartener.

I was excited about Aris' progress but thought maybe it was a fluke. Then, while walking around this morning I saw what she was writing. Again she had the sentence, "I am a dog." Underneath it she wrote, "Ther is a str(star)." And under that she wrote, "I hav a dog." AMAZING!!!!! What's even more amazing is she even had some sentences written in Spanish!

Ok, I'm not sharing this because I think I'm an amazing teacher. Puh-leez! There is sooooooo much I don't know, and I feel like I'm winging it on a near daily basis! But I share this because I don't want to forget it. I want to remember that this is why I'm doing it; this is why I don't just chuck it and quit when the stress gets incredibly unbearable and lonely.

1 comment:

dani said...

Deb, I've been waiting for this to happen. I've known for a long time that this (teaching) is what you are supposed to be doing (until you have little ones of your own). ;) I love this story.

God has placed you where you are.

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