Posts tagged: education
I got to experience a moment of bliss on Mother’s Day as all three of my boys read together. I’m sure they were worn from the excitement of breaking a window. Yes, the youngest threw his “special” rock at the rotating fan which caused the rock to ricochet off the fan and fly directly into the sidelight. Should I be impressed or upset?
And did you know that glass shatters at 3,000 miles per hour?
Anyway, I was away while my husband was “watching” the kids, but I can’t be too mad at his negligence since he was cleaning the bathrooms.
My first question was, “Why are there rocks in this house?” You see, this is a rock that my son found at school on St. Patrick’s Day after the leprechauns had visited in the night. I’m a sucker for glittery rocks hewn from the tips of rainbows, so it’s still in the house.
But all is forgiven when I see them all reading together like this. We’ve worked particularly hard to get to this point as our first son struggled with decoding early on. I knew he seemed intelligent enough, but he could not read, wouldn’t even pick up a book in 2nd grade. That was the year in my life that I read The Wizard of Oz and thought I would never read another book as good as that!
So his lack of reading or being able to read was bothering me that summer. I felt a sense of urgency to do something about it. But what? My answer, not so strangely, came from reading. In The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Science, I learned about a neurologist who had developed a computer program to help herself with her own brain deficiencies, much of which had to do with language. Eventually, she and her husband developed a computer program to help kids with their reading and language deficiencies. You can get it commercially as we did, but some school districts even use it. Anyway, after much expense and several months of sitting with a 7 year old five days a week, 50 minutes a night after school at the computer, after swim practice, or after basketball, my son’s reading scores flew up. His reading teachers asked us what we were doing at home.
“It’s not me; it’s the computer program,” I would insist. But now I realize that my husband and I had both made a commitment to doing this program and seeing our son through it. So even though we weren’t teaching him how to read, we were instrumental in his success.
One night as I tried to sneak past A’s room (he always has a lot to talk about, and my book was calling me), I thought I was seeing things. A book in his hand? So I looked again and was caught. “Hey, Mom, can you come in here?” Nope, I was seeing straight. He was halfway through the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Since then, he’s raced through so many books, I have to be at the library at least once a week to keep up. And even though he still likes graphic novels the best, I don’t mind. He’s getting lost in those books. I love it when I can’t get his attention because he is so absorbed in what he’s reading.
At school, I have students pulled from my classes regularly for help with their reading. And though they are getting help, I know that if our school district had the resources, these kids could actually get more and better help with this technology because the program actually changes the brain of the student and helps make it easier for the student to decode. They would never need a reading tutor again. Knowing this is frustrating, as so many issues in education are, because I can’t fight for everything.
I was quite relieved when my oldest boy found his love of reading. His other brothers don’t seem to have the same struggles in that area, and of course, they mimic all that their older brother does.
I know it’s a bit sentimental to say, but seeing the boys in this posture today could make any book loving mom a little teary.
Yes, I realize that someone with my education makes twice as much as I do outside of teaching. And I always think it’s funny when consultants come to present to teachers and say things like, “I was a teacher, but I had the opportunity to work for X-Company to help teachers like you.” I giggle at this because of course they left teaching to make more money and have an easier job. We who sit patiently during our inservices are not stupid.
But in their jobs, they will not experience what I experienced yesterday. One of the most difficult kids at school (for teachers), because he must talk constantly and has a very hard time sitting still for any length of time (making school a torturous environment for him), actually made my week.
You know the kind of kid who is well-liked by his peers, athletic, hilarious, always irreverent and often inappropriate but unpretentious, the kind of kid for whom school is simply not important. That’s him. So he is making the entire class laugh as he is working on his project. And he keeps teasing me relentlessly because earlier I had laughed at the ridiculously obscene and Holocaust-like news story that China is selling capsules full of ground dead babies and fetuses to South Korea because the flesh of babies is believed to increase sexual stamina. I laughed because if I didn’t laugh at the evilness of this, I would have cried. Forgive me!
At one point I mention to this student, who is a huge basketball fan, that Shaquille O’Neal recently earned his Master’s in Education and is now working toward his doctorate. Incredulous, my student bet me five minutes of “not talking” as he Googled the truth of my statement. So, our class did enjoy five minutes of eery silence from him. Funnily enough, he kept track of his time and informed me when it was up.
The best part of yesterday came at the bell, not because my day was over, but because as this distracted, talkative, dare I say, obnoxious student raced out the door (no running in the halls, please), he yelled, “I love you, Mrs. Demmert!”
Guess you’re not going to get that in any other job unless someone is actually hitting on you!
It’s truly not about the money.