Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sweet Success

A gigantic environmentally-friendly lightbulb flashed on in my class yesterday. One student, whom I'll call Emily because that's totally not her name (and I'm sad about the lack of a new Bones episode this week) finally figured out how to write! I'm not quite sure what happened. I had already given detailed instructions, and this is my third year as her Language Arts teacher so I KNOW that she's been taught this stuff before, but she's just never really done well with writing.

During the after-school homework center yesterday, Emily was a little distracted by her friends (completely engrossed in a conversation), so I separated the group. Not an uncommon occurence. Instead of sitting and pouting like some of them tend to do, she started working on the book report. She needed more guidance, so I gave her the same step-by-step instructions I've been teaching her class since 2007. This was the time! It worked! She had already read her book carefully, which may have been the missing ingredient before. She took the instructions, worked on them, brought her writing to me to check, revised, checked it again, revised it again, and ended up with a composition that rivals the top students in the class!

Emily was completely shocked with herself, and I think I am too. Honestly, if I hadn't watched her write it, I would have doubted her honesty.

What in incredible boost this is for both of us! Emily is a good kid, and if she doesn't always work as hard as she could, she has shown the desire to do well. Algebra has been a pain for her, and I've seen her self-confidence take a blow, but now she knows, like I already knew, that she's capable.

Lesson learned for me, too. Even though I've been with them for a really long time, a number of my students might need just one more explanation, just a little bit more help, so they can get it.

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