* Grateful for small mercies

baby stepsIt’s the small things for which I am most grateful.  Like those tiny increments in millimeters that eventually lead to a young man six feet tall, kids must often make hundreds of small steps in their path towards mastery.  One student required almost 30 trials per task in order to achieve a goal.  Those steps seem can inconsequential or even frustrating at times.  It takes extra teacher effort to remain upbeat and encouraging when the pace is sluggish.  I draw pictures for kids to show them that their mountain top is within reach.  I tell their parents that we will see it happen.  Based on experience, I know the labor is not in vain.  So I smile and guide and encourage.  And then it happens!  That mountain-top moment!  The kids usually know when that moment occurs.  What does it look like?  One struggling student raised his hands like an Olympian and called out, “If anyone needs help with their reading, ask me!”   Another student hugged me.  Yet another student stopped speaking to me in the hallway; my presence reminded him that he had once been unable to read.  I have to tell the occasional student that we have arrived.  I shared reading test results with a girl who was astonished.  “I can read on grade level?” she asked incredulously.  Yes, I am grateful for every step.

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