Thursday, May 3, 2012

SAVOR: Making Progress

I had two encounters at school recently that I want to savor.

In the first, I was working with a student in an after school writing program I do one day with 2nd through 4th graders and a second day with 5th and 6th. Each group is delightful for different reasons. On this day, I was working with my older students who are a delight because they are really starting to get how stories are put together. They've read enough to know what they like and how they want their story to sound. Their stories are intricate and they come up with some great moments and phrases in their writing.

One student aspires to be an artist of some sort. She wants to sing and she wants to write and be published and she is a good artist. As is typical with that age group, her brain moves faster than her pencil , so our conferencing time is spent working on filling in some of the details of the story that are in her head but didn't make it to the page.

As we were working through her story one day, she asked me what my degree was in. I told her I had a bachelor's and a master's in psychology. She said she thought it would have been in writing because I am good at it. It was a very sweet comment and it touched me. I am woefully aware of my failings and the many things I don't know. But in that moment I felt like she and I were making progress - and it made me want to be better at what I was doing for her sake.

A week later, a parent stopped me with tears in her eyes as she told me that her son, for the first time ever, was reading a book he didn't want to put down. She and I had talked at a book fair about some options and apparently, we had found a winner and she was thrilled. I was relieved. I am painfully aware that it could have gone the other way. I am aware of other times I have recommended things that have bombed with kids. But we got one right for this boy. We are making progress.

And so I march on, day after day, trying to SAVOR the moments where we are getting somewhere, where we are moving forward, and try to let those encourage and inform the moments that fall short.

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