Today I was at the school where I taught for three months last year. A great school with great kids. I started the day off working with two students. We practiced sight words and whoever said the word correctly kept the card and they tried to collect as many cards as they could. I was watching struggling readers take the time to sound out the letters and to put them together. It was great to see how much they have progressed since I last worked with them, a few months ago now. They’ve improved and are becoming more skilled and confident readers.
The rest of the day was spent in phys ed class with grade 6, math in grade 8, word work and writing in grade 1, writing work in grade 2, reading in grade 3 and career ed in grade 8. I was able to support many students and to observe and learn from many as well. It is great seeing the people these students have grown into since the beginning of the school year.
A highlight of today was watching the grade 6 students find out who qualified for the next track meet. This is a community school where the students come from various backgrounds. Some have more opportunities than others and they all have different home lives, families, and learning needs. It was great to see the students cheer for those who qualified but I won’t forget the reaction of one girl. She was thrilled beyond belief that she would be participating at the track meet. She did not expect her name to be called. I think this was a boost of confidence she needed and I could genuinely see how happy she was.
I must say the my favourite moment of the day was in grade 3 when they were reading. I sat at the back table with some students and I just listened. I listened to a boy who receives extra reading support. I listened to a boy who has trouble focusing in class. I listened to a boy who acts out sometimes. I listened to a boy read. All of these boys are the same child and here sitting with him, I saw a different boy than I do when instructing a formal lesson to the whole class. I saw a student who loves space who chose to engage with me. I did not see the things he could not do, or the struggles he had, etc. These were not evident.
He was engaged in his reading. He shared his passion, knowledge and understanding of the topic of “space” and it was a great moment. These things were evident. We engaged in discussion and I asked him questions and he thought about things. Then we looked at a futuristic car book and talked about the types of cars that were in the book. I can’t say that this student is always engaged or fully demonstrates his understanding but through this love of reading books he was interested, I felt that we could take the topic of space and complete a science project or an ELA assignment or an art project etc. Because of his knowledge, passion and interest, this topic could be applied to many subject areas, and I bet I would see this student engaged and able to demonstrate his understanding through a variety of mediums. This was truly the highlight of my day.