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A Pep Talk to Myself

March 29, 2013
My cat and boyfriend are about to join me in New Orleans. Permanently. Counting the days. Home is about to get so much better.

My cat and boyfriend are about to join me in New Orleans. Permanently. Counting the days. Home is about to get so much better.

There are certain days, as a teacher in New Orleans, that you wonder how you are going to survive. This is a pep-talk to myself.

You find out a student has taken the city bus from the hospital to the school, dressed in his hospital gown with bandages from the shooting that happened the night before, because he has no where else to go. Because the family he was staying with left town overnight because their house was shot up.

And you wonder how any one of your kids will survive, how they keep getting to school, why New Orleans is so messed up, why violence has been and will continue to be the problem and the solution, and what the hell you are doing about it anyway. And then?

You keep plodding along, smiling at everyone, giving too many hugs to the stinkiest kids, loving the ones that no one loves, having tough conversation with the frequent fliers, encouraging, begging, bribing kids to do what’s right by your standard but somewhat foreign to them. You start to see results.

Yesterday we had our first benchmark for my intervention classes. I set a goal for my kids to grow 15 correct words per minute (CWPM) over a 20-lesson program called Rewards. Rewards helps to increase fluency and therefore comprehension by reprogramming the brain through repetition and exposure to sounds and word parts and word families.

To do a quick check for fluency, we just do a leveled, one-minute oral read to check correct words per minute. I figured, with just 5 lessons completed so far, they’d maybe have grown 5-10 words per minute, or even stayed the same.

The reading passage was about the Iditarod. That word alone could incite acute frustration in my flight or flight students.

But my kids were incredible! Some grew 5 CWPM. Some grew 10. Some 15. Several 30. Maybe it’s just being invested this time, or having a teacher who is invested. Maybe it’s the actual intervention. I don’t even care at this point. When I told them their old scores, their new scores, and how supremely impressed I was with their hard work and dedication, they were ecstatic  Giving me high fives. Jumping around. Telling everyone. Telling the principal. Telling other teachers. Best. Day. Ever.

When it’s 5 in the afternoon and you’ve already put in 10 hours at work, and you haven’t even started preparing for the next day, those are the forever-moments that will get you through. You, Ms. Summers. You.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 29, 2013 12:45 pm

    YOU GO GIRL!!!! that’s FANTASTIC!!! and congrats on your bf and cat moving to the nola!!! i love how this is all working out!! 😉

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