Who knew this fat, ugly little baby would grow up to be such a wise and wonderful woman?? J (My aunt, holding me in this photo, once told me that at 11 pounds 2 ounces, I was the ugliest baby she had ever seen. Still fat, but hey…)
Yesterday one of my least remarkable children- quiet, shy, behind in many skills and totally lacking others, messy, clumsy, immature- confidently told me that when she grows up she is going to be a doctor. If I have learned anything in life I have learned that she may indeed.
I have seen many bright, even gifted children take the wrong path in life and end up in jail or worse. Others who have struggled through school have gone on to lead happy, productive lives and are a blessing to everyone around them.
Potential and test scores and trophies do not predict all that life holds for a child. Sometimes the outcome is all about attitude, motivation, and persistence.
Two of my students were goofing off during reading last week. I called the first one to my desk and asked her to read from the little book we had read in group earlier. She had been sneaking a peak at her unfinished math paper throughout most of reading time and also whispering to her neighbor. She tried her cutest smile and told me, “I don’t know how to read.” When I reminded her that we were using our sounds and blending them to make words she said, “I can’t.” Then she tried a few tears. I stopped her and told her I would discuss her problem with her mother and let her know that she needed to work on sounds each night for homework. Reluctantly, she let out a big sigh and then sounded out her letters and read all six pages of her little book- which I knew she was quite capable of doing in the first place!
Next I called one of my boys to read for me. He had also been talking, looking around the room, and counting his crayons instead of reading with us during group. Of course he started “telling me a story” based on the picture. I stopped him and lectured him about what we had discussed in circle that day and what he was supposed to do with his book. I know this child and love his general attitude, so I wasn’t surprised by his response. He said “okay”, did exactly what I asked him to do- looked at the simple words on the page, sounded them out successfully-and then said, “I’m sounding them out so I can learn!” Big smile…and a huge difference.
I don’t know what will become of any of these children in my class. But since many of my first students are now married and have careers and families and their own children, I know that some will surprise us all!