A long time ago, in a hood far, far away, I was a teacher. During November, I talked about a few of the hard stories. I had a student once who had “selective mutism” in first grade. His parents didn’t act concerned at all and were wonderful and very supportive. They said, “Oh, he talks up a storm at home.” The problem was, that didn’t help me in the classroom because I knew I was going to have to do oral exams such as this new test called Phonological Awareness. It’s kind of hard to hear the phonemes when someone won’t speak.
I had “G” team up with this other child I thought would be a good role model. I had the moms exchange phone numbers and I told them what I was doing. Little by little “G” began to talk. At first, it was in a whisper. Then he whispered to his new friend. He would whisper to me when people didn’t look at him. The first time he raised his hand to answer a question I almost cried. I stayed very calm and pretended I wasn’t going to call on him so I didn’t scare him. When I saw he was ready I said his name. He answered and the whole class stopped and looked at him. They gave him words of encouragement. I almost cried. Ahhh. Little “G”, you kind of still are my favorite story to tell.
I just looked through my photo album tonight. I see you and your friend in almost all of my photos. I was probably a tad bit obvious that year about favorites, but who could blame me. It was my very first year and I managed to do something right. I was a wee bit proud of myself. Plus I made it through the year without quitting AND the next year, I came back an entirely different teacher; however, that’s another story. So for my room One first graders, ummm you might be in college, but you know, I am still the same age, anyway, I love you guys and hope you are doing well. Three of my girls are my Facebook friends so I do check on some of you. You just don’t know it.