You do not wake up one morning a bad person. It happens by a thousand tiny surrenders of self-respect to self-interest.
This winter my husband and I headed south for a long weekend in hopes of finding temperatures above 20 degrees. I’ll admit that thinking Nashville, Tennessee, might be warm was a bit naive. We ended up being snowed into our hotel during a winter blast. The resort hotel, which has 15 restaurants, could hardly keep two open as employees couldn’t make the drive.
We chuckled over the adventure and headed out to forage for our dinner. We were quite excited to land two seats in one of the restaurants. To say the restaurant was crowded would be an understatement. We sat down at 6:30, but getting our order placed and served took hours. We didn’t really mind the wait. It was obvious the restaurant staff couldn’t work any harder. Here were the people brave enough to fight the dangerous roads being rewarded with more work than was humanly possible to do.
As we neared the end of our meal and were ready to pay our check, a man walked into the restaurant and grabbed the seat beside me. He was a contrast to the polite conversational man who had occupied the chair moments before. He seemed a bit used to getting his way.
It wasn’t long until he was complaining about the service and making bets with others about how long it would take them to get served. Within minutes, he requested a manager. As he complained, he told her he had twelve people with him and would be spending a lot of money. He ordered drinks and food for the twelve, occupying her attention for quite some time with special requests and demands. In the end, he got everything he needed without one polite word while others waited patiently.
It made me think about the students in our classrooms, the quiet ones who sit waiting for a moment to talk with us, the ones who do what they need to do each day. If we aren’t careful, they can disappear while we respond to students who will advocate for their needs, raise their voices, and find ways to commandeer our attention. Although I hope I am never in a restaurant with this man again, I am thankful for the reminder to take a moment when I step into a classroom to look for the quiet ones: to sit beside them and listen to their learning stories, to watch carefully for the moments they might need a little extra help, and to pause to quietly celebrate their accomplishments. They deserve equal attention as they work to do everything we ask of them.
This week we look at using audiobooks in instruction. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Contributor, Choice Literacy
Cathy Mere is a literacy specialist in Hilliard (Ohio) City Schools. She is the author of More Than Guided Reading. A trained literacy coach and former Reading Recovery teacher, Cathy leads professional development workshops and presents at state and national conferences. She blogs at Refine and Reflect.
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Jennifer Vincent explains how recorded texts were a potent tool for reaching a struggling fourth-grade reader in Embracing the Growth Mindset with Audiobooks:
Shari Frost sorts through the changing world of audiobooks and their resurgence in popularity. She shares some of the innovative ways literacy coaches and teachers in her network are using audiobooks:
If you want to build your audiobook library, the Sync series for AudioFile offers two free downloads a week of great titles throughout the summer:
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Justin Stygles finds that a ban on personal listening devices may not be the best option for students who are easily distracted. He explains how he designed a policy that allows students to listen to music of their choice during literacy workshops:
Jennifer Schwanke tells the story of Josh, a special-needs student who is almost impossible to reach, until one committed teacher unlocks the key to what makes him tick as a learner:
Suzy Kaback discovers The Professional Promise of Podcasts while building her knowledge of social justice. She provides links to many of her favorite online sources to explore over the summer:
We continue our video series of book talks, with Christy Rush-Levine piquing the interest of her eighth graders in When We Broke Up by Daniel Handler:
In an encore video, “The Sisters” (Gail Boushey and Joan Moser) help a colleague dress up her displays of student work. The common mistake teachers make is to display work with standard-size borders, all lined up in a row. Joan and Gail demonstrate how teachers can use techniques that mix up the images visually, promoting more of an art gallery look and feel to wall displays:
That’s all for this week!