I believe that all students can learn, and there is no limit to their learning. My conviction runs like a river through me. It pours forth to eddy and flow around the trusting faces turned in my direction. My students feed on the power of my belief like hungry trout rising in ready waters. I know they can do it. They know I know.
I work with many kinds of students. I teach children five to twelve years old, who struggle with reading and in other ways. Jose is an English-language learner with a very short attention span and highly impulsive behavior. Tom has test scores that claim he is doing the best he can. Latisha has never before seen herself as a scholar. Antoine reads at a kindergarten level although he is more than half way to middle school. I believe their potential is limitless. All these children can rise; there are no exceptions.
Where did I find this faith? As a young teacher I worked with the left-behinds. My small students were learning English as a second language, and while they were learning to speak everyone else was learning to read. What did I need to do to help them catch up? I learned to teach reading because that was what my students needed. As I gained in experience, I found myself with students who could neither read nor control themselves long enough to focus on my reading instruction. So I learned to teach listening, and manners, and self-control. Somewhere along this pathway of struggle and success, my students gave me the gift of my convictions. Now I know they all can learn, and that there is no limit to their learning.
This knowing has changed my life.
Each morning I walk into my sunlit room and feel my hope and love pour out upon my children. Like the river, I am powerful. I know that when my students get stuck I have the power to learn the next new thing that they need to keep them afloat. Success is always possible, and the manifestations of that success are unexpected and joyful. Whoever would have thought to see Tom break-dance across the classroom? Who knew Latisha would jump to the top of the class in reading?
I am blessed by the presence of these students in my life. We have journeyed together to achievements we could not have predicted. Faith, like a tidal river, flows in both directions. I believe that all my students can learn, and they believe that I can teach them.
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