Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm Such a Sucker for Words of Affirmation

Currently in my class we are reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. My students can be caught off guard with the language in the book, so sometimes in class I will read it aloud to them so as to ease the comprehension process and elaborate on significant points.

Unfortunately, late last week I came down with a nasty cold that left my voice somewhat strained. It was weakened enough that if I was reading aloud, I couldn't go too far without needing to take a drink to keep from coughing. At one point, instead of reading silently with the remaining time, students in one class asked if we could continue reading aloud. My voice was too strained, so I asked if someone would like to take over and read in my stead. Three bright students raised their hands and were going to tag-team. The first girl came to the front and began. While an accomplished reader, she would periodically stumble over a word or be hesitant with her pacing. At one point, she blurted out, "Wow, this is a lot harder than it looks. Way to go, Mrs. H!" I was glad I made it seem easy, and appreciated the recognition, although I must say that I would have been saddened if students could show me up when they were not even familiar with the text.

Then today one girl came into class, wondering if we were reading the book again. I assented, clarifying that I was reading aloud, instead of them reading quietly. She brightened up, sincerely stating, "I love it when you read! You know, if you ever lose your job here, you could record yourself reading books and sell them; I think you're better than some people who read books on tape." I'll ignore the fact that she threw out the notion that I could be let go, as our district is facing huge budget cuts for a second year, and I am not tenured. She rarely speaks, so this honest word simply stated was profound. I was flattered, as I've received general praise from my students when I read aloud, but this was the first instance where it was specifically articulated.

So, the moral is that I swoon over thoughtful compliments. Oh, and if you need someone to read aloud to you, apparently I'm your woman. I come highly recommended.

No comments: