This Week as Literacy Coach (TWaLC) March 29, 2018
Being a literacy coach has allowed me to pursue a passion I consider to be THE most important in education. That is, providing students with the experiences and opportunities necessary to become competent, confident, and established readers across many different texts, both simple and complex.
Twenty years of my career as a professional educator was spent in a high school English-Language Arts classroom. I have been in my current position as literacy coach for 606 days. Through triumph and failure, new learning has occurred. In the spirit of vulnerability and collaboration, I will share my learning here.
A few side notes before this week’s reflection:
- Throughout my life my mother has led me to believe I am unique. What mother doesn’t, right? Seinfeld validated this truth when I learned every mother believes her child is special. Pinching his cheek, Jerry’s mother gushed, “Who wouldn’t love my son?” I digress. I have two birthday celebrations each year. I was born on April 8, 1971 which also happened to be Holy Thursday. Thus, in most years, I get to celebrate my birth Day twice. Today, Thursday March 29, 2018 – Holy Thursday – is my first birth Day celebration of this year.
- Baseball is back. ‘Nough said.
- For Christians around the world this is Holy Week. I am a Catholic Christian and am humbled at knowing what Jesus, the Nazarene, the zealot, did for me…for us. I recognize there are many branches that lead us to the tree top, wherever you are on your journey through the leaves and however you choose to scale the limbs, may you be blessed by a gentle breeze, a soothing bird’s song, and a warm ray of sunshine.
I had several discussions this week with fascinating colleagues. These are learning opportunities. I learned more about Facebook marketing, Fahrenheit 451, engaging reading strategies, and reading class structure. Most importantly, I have learned that students and teachers need some time off to charge up, reset, and prepare for a strong finish.
Spring break comes at an opportune time in our school calendar.
Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 (1953), spun an interesting metaphor in his dystopian novel way ahead of its time. Granger, the character who believes in the world, sees the potential good in people, and works to protect literature through the novel’s disturbing portrayal of control and manipulation of banning books provides a deep, sustainable message for other characters and, ultimately, the reader.
“It doesn’t matter what you do…so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching…. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”
Isn’t this what we all aspire to be…change for the good? Change that will last a lifetime. We aim to leave a legacy. Through our work, our parenting, our living. The ghost of Hamlet hauntingly begs, “Remember me.”
The gardener’s work lasts a lifetime. The gardener nurtures life. The gardener is remembered through beauty and nourishment. The gardener changes things when his hands are taken away.
As educators, it is our responsibility to cultivate deep, lasting growth. We must find ways to ensure sustenance for our students. When students leave our classrooms, their lives should be changed…for the better.
As we chase a legacy, we must live intriguingly, work with passion, and believe in others. In this way of living we will transform our own lives which, in turn, will help our students bloom into the best versions of themselves.
Special thanks to my thoughtful, insightful colleague for inspiring this reflection.