Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A (Real) Teacher

I wasn't sure what I was going to write about today because, if I'm being honest, I haven't been writing true "slices." But today, I think I have a slice for you. 

I said something that I shouldn't have said. 

The big buzz around the English Department this week is the upcoming NCTE convention in Washington DC. I spied the program on a teacher's desk and as I was flipping through it, I offhandedly remarked "Oh, I used to go every year when I was a real teacher." 

As the words left my mouth, I knew I wasn't being fair--to myself or to other instructional paraprofessionals. I mean, what is a "real" teacher? It's more than just degrees and certifications. Instructional paraprofessionals know their subject matter. They are skilled at helping kids turn the lightbulb on. They are tasked with the difficult challenge of working with kids who "don't get it." 

So, this is my lesson for today: own my professionalism. I am absolutely a "real" teacher. I have always been and always will be one. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Both Sides Now

 It is parent-teacher conference season and I had my middle child's pre-K conference yesterday morning. It is incredibly inspiring and awesome to witness emerging literacy through the lens of both parent and teacher. Seeing my four year old's emerging print skills is delightful and a great source of pride. When I see her S with the extra curve on top, her E drawn as a small circle, her upside-down Ls and the capital A way over on the other side of the paper, I see the wheels turning in her brain, her understanding of print concepts right on target developmentally, her pride in being able to spell her name. It thrills me to no end and makes me excited for the whole new world that will open up to her when she starts Kindergarten next fall.
My eldest is in first grade, and I've already seen how her writing has evolved from the end of last school year to now. She has mastered fine motor control over her handwriting, moving from large, awkwardly-printed letters to small, neatly-spaced letters in her words. She has mastered her sight words and take risks with more sophisticated vocabulary. I went to a publishing party in her class, and got to hear her read aloud a book she wrote about her summer vacation on the Cape, the story infused with humor and keen details.
For any parent, especially a parent that is also a teacher, witnessing this evolving and emerging literacy is incredible. It all seems to happen so naturally, when you're not watching, and belies the incredibly hard work of learning kids do, and the amazing job their teachers do.
From a book my daughter wrote in Kindergarten

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