There is something just so absolutely incredible that you feel when students achieve real, measurable, and observable success in your classroom. I have to admit when my students are successful it makes me feel successful. I have experienced an immeasurable amount of joy watching my students go from struggling to soaring. There have been students who were brought to tears and students who have jumped up down with excitement when they reached their goals. However, there are times when even though a students gives their best effort every day and I put everything I have into supporting them, their progress is slow.
My first two years teaching READ 180 I had two girls who worked hard and were motivated to succeed. Yet, every time they took the SRI there were only very small gains. I encouraged both girls to keep a positive attitude and commended them on their efforts, but I fully understood their disappointment because I felt it too. Just like when we feel successful in our students’ achievements, we also feel as though we have failed when our students continue to struggle.
Last November, I got a message from one of the girls. This was the kind of message that makes you get a goofy grin and it sticks with you for days!
Then in May, I received an email from my supervisor who was visiting the high school. She was with the other girl who had just finished her SRI. The student was so excited about her score she asked my supervisor to send me and email and to show me her SRI “Student Progress Report”. She started this year, with confidence, in regular education reading and communication arts classes.
As I enter my fifth year teaching READ 180, I have had some of those heart breaking moments where at the end of a student’s 8th grade year we look at their Lexile and other data and they need to continue READ 180 in high school. When we think about success, we often think about what happens in the here and now. Just like actual seeds need time and nutrients to grow, some of our students also need more time and continued support to be successful. I want to encourage you that you are planting seeds of success in every student in your classroom.