Tuesday, 11 January 2011

What Cannot Be Measured

Today I listened to one of my students read to me. For a moment, I forgot I was taking a running record and just let myself listen to the words fall flawlessly out of her mouth. She was fluently reading words in sentences. She was enjoying it. She was understanding it. I know she's reading because she has been reading just the right books for just the right amount every day. I let myself just reap the benefits of her labor. I froze the moment in my head. This was a student who was not only struggling at the beginning of the year but, missing pieces of memory and sounds in her writing. In the past, I might say what I am witnessing is a miracle. Which in a way it is. Yet, instead of just chalking it up to being a magical, untouchable process, I feel like I had a part in the puzzle. For months she and I have been talking, reading and writing. She has not struggled with attendance this year as she did last year. I am able to help give her her inhaler when she needs it. If she needs a breathing treatment, I call her mom and dad and ask if they can come and give it to her at school so she can stay. If she needs to stay in for recess with a friend, we do that.

So how can I document this for her teacher next year? I can't. And what about summer? As I sat there marveling with her progress I was imagining how I could help her over the summer. Could I skype with her? Could I send letters with lists of books I want her to read? How far do I need to go to make sure she is not losing all this work we have built over the last four months? Do I send her books in the mail?

For now, I guess we just need to sit and revel in our joy. Then we let the joy carry us as far as the path takes us together. Maybe the path will end in June? Maybe not? You never know.

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