My Teacher’s Heart Grew!


#sol19- January 29, 2019

So, today I had many choices of what I was going to write. I could have written about my great weekend at the Hong Kong International School Literacy Conference (where I got to meet up with a friend I have not seen in 10 years and learned from Sara Ahmed, Carl Anderson, Penny Kittle, and Kim Yaris). I could have written about my recent frustration that the books I ordered in November for a Mock Caldecott and Sibert Smackdown had STILL not arrived. I could have written about so many things. But instead, I am going to write about two tiny moments…

Yesterday, as I was waiting with a few students at parent pick up TH came up to me. “I used my word today.”

I wasn’t sure what he meant, but I smiled, willing him to say more.

“Ms. S. asked me to join the Khmer dance for International Day. I didn’t want to, because it might be hard and embarrassing, but then I remembered my one little word is ‘brave’, so I said yes. I decided I could do it.”

“I am so proud of you, TH,” I beamed at him, now fully understanding what he meant and what a big step this was for him. We chose our 2019 “one little word” a few weeks ago, and many students are referring to their word when they make decisions.

Moment two came this morning while I was in the classroom working before school. As usual, students were coming up to drop off their backpacks before going out to play before the bell. “Which book won the Caldecott?” Y. asked from the hall. Bear in mind this is a student who does NOT identify as a reader- he aims to be the next Ronaldo, spending every spare moment thinking about soccer. He is in almost constant movement and started the year as a hard sell- it was challenging for him to find a book he would read all the way through- sitting still just wasn’t his thing. A turning point for him may have been when he and another student sat up front with me taking on the roles of Jack and the narrator in It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk. He still sometimes abandons books, but he loves read aloud and reading aloud. He remembered that the awards took place the previous day and he wanted to know if the winners were books we had read.

“We’ll watch it before snack,” I assured him. As the school day started many other students had the same question and I reminded them we would watch before recess (the ceremony started at 11PM our time, so we were not going to be watching it live). At first, that was enough, but as the time passed the buzz in the room became more noticeable. I finally gave up what we were doing and we watched the last 15 minutes of the YMA video. There were cheers for books they knew, groans when favorites were passed over, and “that looks good!”, “we need that!” when other books were shown.

Ironically I got confirmation just a bit later that my book order was finally in- I would head off to the bookstore (about 45 minutes away) right after school to pick up the books. Happily, between what we already owned and what was in this order we now own the Caldecott winner and the honor books too. I know what I am doing as soon as I hit ‘publish’. I also know what we will do tomorrow- gather together over a few great books!

Truly my teacher heart has grown a few sizes in the last two days. I am a lucky teacher to be able to see kids grow every day!


Former student, Zhi Hong, slices here.

11 thoughts on “My Teacher’s Heart Grew!

  1. Perhaps you’re a lucky teacher. But perhaps those that don’t realize just how lucky they are yet is the students in your classroom that will appreciate you for fostering a love of reading and books way beyond when they will have left the confines of your classroom at the end of the year. So … perhaps, instead of lucky, you’re just awesome 😉

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