Friday, December 18, 2015

Supported Learning

                          (One stack of reading.)

Among the fortunate, I love my job.  My career began as a Special Education Teacher where I toddled between keeping up with paper work supervising Ed. Techs and teaching kids. I was my own secretary before the advent of computers; scheduling meeting after meeting with a roomful of players.  I also did most of the testing spending weekends writing reports.  Morphing into three of me might have made the position less challenging.  My boss regularly told me I was doing a great job, but gave me little support otherwise.  "Keep on, keeping on," he would say.  Today's technology would have made this job a bit more manageable.  Following this, I spent a glorious stint in a multi-age classroom team teaching.  Our days were filled with curiosity and wonder.  The classroom was filled with rich literature the likes of Tomie DePaola, Jan Brett, Cynthia Rylant and Patricia Pollaco.  Writers ourselves we guided five and six year olds through the craft negotiating rough spots; helping them find passion in their voice. Team teaching was a dream as we gave each other feedback and supported each other.   Later, I continued teaching first grade carrying the knowledge I learned from team teaching to a single classroom.  I took university classes and found mentors to support me; lifting my teaching through learning.

Presently and for the last five years, I have been a Reading Recovery Teacher.  The brilliance of support and continued learning through this organization is overlooked by the educational field.  Reading is a complex orchestration of processes in which a 30 minute lesson requires the skill and knowledge of a trained teacher to effect change.  I don't mean to sound superior in any way, however it is the continued extensive training that ultimately supports my students and makes a huge difference in my teaching. After a year long training program, all Reading Recovery Teachers attend monthly classes in which we talk about research and how that impacts our practice.  We observe live lessons and critique each other, supportive yet constructive. Visitations are set up on a regular basis where a Teacher Leader (my teacher) observes a lesson noting the language I use, the scaffolding in place to support the learner and the flurry of teaching decisions I make in a one-on one thirty minute lesson.  If my students are going to eccelerate, I need to be on my game. This support is invaluable. After all these years teaching; I continue to learn.  

My job is important. More than one student has thrown their arms around me and cried in happiness with flowing tears. "I can read!"   Perhaps they entered my room with the fear that they would never learn to read. Everyone wants to learn how to read.  Everyone deserves to learn how to read.  I have an important job and I love it. The effectiveness of Reading Recovery is in part because of this support that is in place for me and all Reading Recovery Teachers.  Why aren't all educators afforded these intensive learning opportunities?  In turn, it makes such a difference for my students.  I love my job; I am supported. I am grateful.



Kimberley Moran said...

Teaching someone to read is the only way anyone really got out of their own way and succeeded. You are so right. I love this post and all of the books in your stack.

travelinma said...

Thank you my friend. Teaching reading is a joy. Just wish I had more time with writing.