Saturday, April 26, 2014

Right out of their mouths

Discover. Play. Build.
with Ruth Ayres!

"How do I know who wrote this post?" A. calls me over in the middle of ELL Resource, gesturing at his phone.

"It should say whose blog it is at the top... Scroll up... See, this is E.'s blog."

"No. Way." He glances over his shoulder at E., who's sitting at a computer but has now turned around upon hearing her name. "She was in my English class last year and she HATED reading!!! Now she loves it!" (They are not in the same English class this year, so he hasn't witnessed her daily excitement about reading growing like I have.)

Behind him, she giggles, nodding.

"It must be because she had you as a teacher!" he declares. Before I can sputter "thank you," he continues. "Because you encourage us so much!" 

I grin. Every time he has to find a new book, A. still insists that he can't find one and he doesn't like reading... but after he flips through a stack of books I've picked out just for him, he always finds one that leaves him spitting constant updates on the plot or characters whenever he walks into my room. He won't declare himself a reader yet, but he's working his way up the road.

I'm still digesting what he said when E. looks up at me with sparkling eyes and blurts out, "You work miracles with reading!!!"

I wish I could scoop the words right out of their mouths and hold onto them, freeze this moment and play it back forever: the pure delight on her face, the way he looks as if he's standing at the open door to a secret club.

"Aw, thanks guys... That's part of why I became a teacher."

My heart is so light I might fly right up into the square ceiling tiles.

Earlier this week I submitted my data for the "student growth" part of my evaluation: two pages of numbers on a spreadsheet. How do I submit this moment?


  1. Jennifer, this is so exciting! Maybe you should bring some of your students to the evaluation with you; they would tell the truth!

  2. Stories are data with a soul (Brene Brown), you have lots of the best kind of data. :-)

  3. Love how you ended this celebration ... Great question to ponder, but I think this blog, your students' writing, and their words and stories should be shared too! Love the quote elsie shared too! "Stories are data with a soul." ~Brene Brown

  4. I love your last line!
    What a special moment!

  5. Jennifer.
    I have read this blog twice now, once yesterday and once today. I am certain I will also read it again. Each time I have, and each time I will, the effect will be the same. Tears in my eyes. For you have found the magic of being a teacher. Most other occupations don't have these moments, but we educators can revel in the moments that we do. Love, Mommy

  6. I would add this blog post to the data. I use the phrase "my teacher heart sings" for moments like this, but I love your phrase . . .
    "My heart is so light I might fly right up into the square ceiling tiles."

  7. These are the stories that count, not numbers on a spreadsheet. I love, love, love that line, "You work miracles with reading." I'll bet your heart is just dancing with joy. :)

    1. It was adorable, Julie! I was just stunned. One of those moments you really wish you'd been recording! :-)


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