Saturday, March 3, 2012

Heart-to-Hearts


DAY 3  SOL

Heart-to-Hearts

I want to reflect on two heart-to-heart conversations that I had at school yesterday.  I started the day in a meeting with a colleague. We never got to our set agenda.  Instead we talked about the successes and struggles within her classroom.  We talked about each student and her worries and concerns.  We talked about the progress that so many have made.  We talked openly and honestly about instruction and the nature of her class.  There was plenty of concern and worry for both of us. I am not sure that we found answers but rather some key questions that we need to puzzle over.  By the end of our conversation we were both laughing and felt much better just knowing that we could problem solve with one another.

The second heart-to-heart did not end in laughter.  I had a talk with one of my older students about her feelings towards reading with me.  I push into her room and work with five students individually during their reading workshop.  Basically, I am an extra teacher conferencing with students.  I have opened the door to her with this conversation. She was very honest with me saying that she does not want to read with me and doesn’t need help.  While this conversation left me feeling less than successful as a teacher, I was thankful for her honesty.  Now I know what she is feeling and thinking. Yet, this leaves me with more questions: Where did our reading relationship breakdown?  How will I repair it?  What did I do to cause her to feel this way?  Trying to see the bright side, at least she could be honest with me.  Now I have to work to better serve her as a reader and respect her as an individual. 


Sometimes these hard conversations can be painfully truthful. Sometimes a good heart-to-heart can lift worry and set action into motion. Even if that action is the beginning of our rethinking.  Either way, the beauty of these talks is the push they give us to learn and grow together.  The challenge of these conversations is 'what is next?'  Now both conversations replay in my head and heart as I reach forward.



11 comments:

  1. Hi Josie,
    I enjoyed reading your slice. Reflection is such an important part of what we do as teachers. I know you're not asking for advice, but hopefully you won't mind a suggestion:) One word - Relationship. If you can find some ways to build a relationship with this student, she just might allow you to eventually support her with reading. Thanks for sharing your slice.

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    1. Valerie, I am asking for advice and appreciate your one word because that is what is bothering me the most... what did I do to harm our relationship? We have been enjoying our reading together all year. She is new to our school so I had to carefully build the trust and joy together. Somewhere along the way I lost it. If you have any ideas on how to repair please let me know. I have a feeling that I will be posting progress on this situations. Thank you so much for your time and thoughts. Always open to advice.

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  2. Wow, the first conversation is rather uplifting, so the second one understandably brings you down a bit. It says a lot that this student can be honest with you, tell you how she really feels. I wonder if you can connect with her through a great book, perhaps one she can read, will fall in love with, and then respond to on an emotional level??? I'm reading Nancy Atwell's The Reading Zone right now, and she can't seem to say enough about connecting with struggling readers with great books. Good luck building this relationship with her.

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    1. Wendi, I just clicked on your blog description - I love it! It has such energy! Thank you so much for responding to this as it was hard to write and be so honest that I had harmed a relationship without knowing how. For me that is the tricky part - where did I go wrong. I know somehow she sees me as someone who teaches her reading rather than a teacher who shares the love of reading with her. Not sure how that happened, but I am taking your advice and bringing in a big stack of books on Monday! THANKS Wendi. Have a great time with the challenge.

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  3. Josie,
    I was happy to stumble upon your blog this evening. I'm glad to see you have joined the SOLS challenge. I enjoyed reading your post. It reminded me that, first of all, there never seems to be enough time to just sit and talk about our students, their successes, and their challenges. I miss that unstructured time to chat about those things that are on our minds about classroom communities. Your second dilemma is a bit more challenging, but I know you will figure it out. There are a myriad of reasons students go through these stages. Hopefully, good books and good conversations will help to bring you both together.

    Good luck with the challenge,
    Cathy

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    1. Cathy, I am so excited to join you in this adventure. Blogging really intimidated me. This one was so hard to write, it is hard to say that I have caused a student not to respond... I love what you have said here - YES - good books are exactly what I need to bring us back together, that and a lot of respect for her.

      Thanks Cathy, it was great to see you at DLC.

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  4. Josie,

    So glad we are doing the Challenge at the same time. What a gift to be able to have "conversations" as we share snippets of our lives. You, my friend, are one of those people I always want to spend more time with, but life keeps getting in the way.
    Anyway, I love that you share such a great rapport with a colleague that you are able to talk so honestly about both the problems and successes in the classroom. This is what our profession needs even more of.
    I'm sorry to hear about your student's attitude toward having you in the classroom. I'm guessing it's not you, but what you represent to her as a struggling reader.
    Thanks so much for sharing such candid moments.

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  5. Oh, and by the way, I think you picked the perfect blog title. Sorry I couldn't help more. It appears that you did just fine on your own. :)

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    1. Ha! Hardly on my own - what it that saying it takes a community - it took all of you and my daughter who blogs. You are always so supportive. Can't wait until we can find more time as I loved seeing you at the conference.

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  6. Life is a mixed bag, isn't it?

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  7. Josie-
    I am so glad that you are blogging! I appreciated reading your post today and have been thinking about a student in my class I need to have a heart to heart with this week. So much of our work is relational and your post reminded me that I need to take action. Thank you and thanks for joining the blogging world. I can't wait to read more.

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