Friday, September 19, 2008

I can't believe it moment!

It has been a long time since I posted. Wow too long! I haven't had writer's block or thinking block, just teaching. This year my teaching world has been turned upside down. As I was standing in front of my classroom. The one in a white portable trailer finally with running water and bathroom in front of a group of children that the educational system has given up on. The ones who can't "read, write, or learn." The group that falls into the 1% and 2% of the educational population, that we pass through from grade to grade hoping and wishing they will "pass the test." As I stand before them, I don't see failure. I see happy face writing bat for the first time. I see pigtails writing her first sentence with no grammar errors and she is in 4th grade. I see Ms. Give up identify the /l/ sound and that /a/(short) is not /i/(short). I see success.



BUT HOLD ON- There teacher, me, is a deaf individual teaching phonic to them. Not just sounds, words, I mean speech phonics. Then I say Oh my goodness....how did it happen. Who has the faith in me.



In the spring, I lobbied to teach a fantastic program called Language! by SoprisWest. Language! is a program that assist the children to develop into independent academic readers. It builds the foundation from the bottom. I lobbied for this program. I camped out in the office for this a chance to teach this. I begged, I did everything to be able to teach this. Why?? One reason, many years ago my 2nd grade teacher didn't give up on me, and my goodness I will not give up on these students. I want to be the one teacher that said I believe in you. I will teach you how. I will show you how. I will support you. This program is why I teach. And now they are learning. I see smiles and effort and most importantly self-esteem. Can one program do this? No, this isn't like any program I have ever taught. It's real. It works. Look another day, and I can't wait to go teach my students. I thank my principal for see me instead of my deafness. She hired me 15 years ago even after I interviewed at 7 other schools. She saw me not my deafness. She supported my CIs and is always right there to lend a hand. This person is giving me the opportunity to live this dream. A dream to teach and a dream to change the direction and life of a child. Got to go.

11 comments:

Laurie said...

You go, girl! You are making a difference. And you are probably the best teacher to teach phonics because you are listening more for the "right sound." You are also showing that no one is perfect and you can learn right alongside your students. What great therapy this is for you. My mom always said that my kids were my "therapy" because I had to teach them to talk! And learned to speak better as a result. Can't wait to hear more!

kim said...

This was such a heart-warming post. I'll never forget some of the teachers who were so supportive of my learning disabled son. He is in college this very day because of those who wouldn't give up on him. Thanks you from the bottom of my heart for all you do.

Valerie said...

Thank you. I had parent-teacher conferences tonight. I asked my students do they like Language! class. All responded yes, one even said "Oh, yea!" I received good positive feedback from parents.

Laurie and Kim thank you for your comments.

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...

Welcome back!!! I've missed your passionate comments, strong voice and LI IT time *smile* Beautiful post, Val, you deserve every opportunity to help the next...I would love to be one of those students.
Hugs,
Jodi

Jodi Cutler Del Dottore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave said...

You have been missed indeed, and welcome back!
What a wonderful, hear warming emotional post!
David

Lisa said...

Valerie, would you come teach my 3rd grader??? I'm so frustrated trying to help him do his homework from public school, because I've spent the last two years homeschooling him and he still isn't getting some of these basic things that I've tried so hard to teach him. I'm hoping a different teacher and system for this year while we're Stateside will help him "get it" before we have to go back to Africa next year, and back to homeschooling. I'm not a teacher, but I've tried to do my best. He's a smart kid, but I don't know what else to do. Any ideas?

Tiffani said...

You are such a great teacher! And I appreciate your advice ... you were right, and I'm glad I listened and stopped stressing. :-)

You're right ... it's great to see her dance to the music!

Deborah said...

Hello Valerie, I am pleased to see your enthusiasm for the bottom group of our children in this country! The frustrated ones that others have mostly given up on. I too, work with this population, in both intervention and special education settings, at our diverse public school district. I have taught for more than 20 years and guess what, I am totally deaf since birth! I do not hear at all and do not sign either. I sit on the floor to lipread the kids and teach literacy to ESL, speech & language impaired, emotionally impaired, autistic, and so forth. Many people do not realize that phonics is not entirely reading. Phonics is only a *part* of reading. I do not hear speech sounds myself and am a voracious reader, reading 2-3 books a week. As you probably know, there are many other strategies for teaching metacognition and reading. Way to go, Valerie!

Abbie said...

I knew you could be the one to prove to the general masses that regardless of the years spent catching only half of what was said, you are now teaching our future how to enunciate. This is truly a milestone Valerie and I for one, has had the faith in you that no matter what you put your mind to, you can do it :)

Jennifer Bruno Conde said...

Valerie, That was wonderful to read! And even though we Special Ed teachers usually end up teaching in the most remote places on campus, we do whatever it takes to guide our students to succeed. FANTASTIC! Jennifer :-)