This is the time of year when I can find something inwardly frustrated about various issues I've consistently talked about with certain little people that really shouldn't be issues at this point in the ball game. My inward dialogue sounds something like this...
- Seriously, troubles with b and d...still? (Then there's p and q and other random backwards letters.)
- Come on. You know which way a 3 goes. (Or a 5, 6, 7...)
- How many times have we talked about how writers and mathematicians aren't lazy? If they make a mistake, they erase the wrong answer. They don't just write the new over the old. Sigh.
- This number is a 12. Not 20, not even 21. It's 12.
- Wuz - I think we learned that word in week three.
This is the short list. It's a good thing none of this ever leaves my mouth.
I have a cousin Laurie, and she has an elevated view of my abilities. She's not shy about verbalizing them either. I've known her to repeatedly brag: "She's the best singer I know." "She's the best first grade teacher in the world." And she's not about flattery. Laurie really believes these things and a myriad of other ideas about me, regardless of the fact I don't see myself as anywhere near the ideal she sees. She's a cheerleader. Everyone needs a cousin Laurie.
Recently I witnessed her boasting about me again. I walked away with the realization that my job title is to be cousin Laurie to each of my students. I should have an elevated view of their abilities. I must see their strengths, work from their strengths, and never be shy about calling them out.
This is my late-in-the-game pep talk. As I draw to the end of the year, my inner dialogue is feeling the effects of almost nine months of teaching. Not only am I battling the issues that certain students still struggle with, like the ones I mentioned above, but I'm affected by fatigue, lack of time, loose ends, a long to-do list, school business, a few not-up-to-par assessment results, etc. It can be easy to forget my role as the cheerleader, the one who continues to call out the strengths of my students in every situation to the very last second of the game. Here's to being cousin Laurie.