Thursday, August 16, 2012

Part two. Getting ready for school is.. different...

My daughter enters one of three second grade classrooms and to me, it is obvious that the teacher is unprepared for her.  But great teachers are amazing in so many little ways. I was standing in the presence of an amazing teacher. Later, my husband affirmed that the school website acknowledged her as a recipient of a national award but at the time all I knew was that she looked at us and then directly at my daughter and assured her that she was always ready for one more student.  She made certain that my daughter had the same name tag, the same color desk and chair as everyone else.  She took three minutes to meet and converse with us but gave Kata undivided attention and tasks that immediately involved her in the makeup of the room.  Her name was added to charts that allowed students to leave the room for any emergency.  The room was organized with charts and tidy holders for books or utensils.  It was obvious that students learned routines for organization that then allowed them both the responsibility and freedom to engage in learning at their own pace.  The room was also decorated with grammar charts, mathematical equations and images that would act as self help guides for self editing.  We were assured several times that while a bureaucracy attempts to provide a process for accessing education, the individuals in the schools provide systems for learning that are tried and true.  We gave the front office new copies of the same paperwork used at the Central Office.  When we checked back at the end of the day, all of the information was there.  Schools that seem to work are schools in which individuals make it their mission to know people.  The secretary looked us up in the computer and then was able to look us in the eye, remembering aloud that we were from Vermont and that Marc would not be here during my sabbatical.  She was able to remark that the Fe in Kata's name actually meant  "faith" in Spanish.  The teacher walked her pupils to the front doors for all parents awaiting the end of day pickup. She walked right over and quietly assured us that Kata fit in as if she had lived here all of her life.  Being able to build a relationship instantly is so important in education.  Seeing this from the other side in this unique circumstance was enlightening.

1 comment:

Gilby said...

Great Blog....NELMS is having a Literacy Conference this fall abbé you could check it out. Interesting stuff.