In the after school program today, I saw a sign that said 21 days left of school. 21! It seems crazy to me that just 21 days are left with my kiddos. We have learned so much – and yet I feel we have so much left to do!
As often happens, I got caught up discussing a student that one of the after school workers helps each day. We were wondering about all of this hard work and whether it was continuing to show benefit. Some days he gets it, is into it, remembers it. And others – he just doesn’t. The road to working on sight words,etc. at home is paved with good intentions. We are left wondering if the help he gets at school is all there is for him, and so we continue to squeeze in every extra second we can. Both the worker and I have a concern for him and his success – which is so nice!
Is this child where he should be in the fast track of kindergarten these days? Not exactly. I worry for him so much in first grade next year. I worry if will he feel successful. Will he struggle? Will he remember anything from kindergarten? Before even speaking to the worker this afternoon, I had my own moment earlier in the day. It was writing time and I am encouraging more independence (he has a behavior plan just for independence) and more details. We were struggling to pull ideas from his head and put them through his pencil. Finally, I sent him off on his own. He returned with one legible sentence that he could read and one string of letters. The child just handed the paper to me and shrugged. The kind of shrug that says – ok, this is all you’re getting. He walked away and I just stared at the paper.
Did I feel frustration? Yes! We have worked so hard all year on using sounds and sight words when writing. The worry for him washed over me. Then the memory of him from the beginning of the year smacked me. When he entered kindergarten, he could not hold a pencil or crayon. He did not recognize, spell, or write his own name. And yet, he just gave me a paper with his name and 1 whole sentence that he could read. This was success! Not failure!
Writing Sample September (tracing highlighted words)
His independent sample from today
The pressures of teaching today can try rob of us of true victories in our classrooms. The miles that our students have already run can be overshadowed by the miles left to go. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes the focus – while the flashes of light along the way go unnoticed.
Our year is progressing on – and yet I’m wanting to look backward and remember where we all started. Many of my students have made immeasurable leaps and bonds – emotionally and academically. There may not be an assessment for that, but I do have my memories.