Sarah Pavsner Mael
Inspiration to Creation
WHALE OF A LESSON
As someone who has taught for about 25 years, I often forget how the stress of learning can feel, despite understanding my students often feel this stress on a daily basis. These last two years, I have been taking the steps to finish my practicum in the Orton-Gillingham approach. One year was devoted to classes and in the second year, I had to apply the framework of this approach in my reading class. I thought this approach would be impossible for me to learn. The zenith of my frustration came during a feedback meeting with the OG trainer. I was basically told that it was harder for me to learn OG because of my divergent thinking. Needless to say, it was a humbling experience for this veteran teacher. Earlier this month, I asked to quit this school-mandated program. My trainer, supervisor, and high school director rallied around me to keep me on track. I also visualized my students, who learn difficult concepts day in and day out, while showing GRIT. These two realities are what kept me committed to becoming a proficient practitioner. Today, I had another feedback meeting. This time around the trainer gave me mostly positive comments. This time around, I could understand how the OG approach works, I mean really works. This time around, I could see how powerful this explicit reading program can be for all learners. I continue teaching because of these moments of clarity, discipline, and learning. My instruction can become static, but there’s always that student, that professional development, that training pushing my internal understanding of the world, or in this case the classroom around me. Luckily, there was a support system to get me where I needed to be. A system with a couple of empathetic administration and a roster of students who persevere through the roughest of times. Do you know someone that needs some rallying as a learner? Leave your responses and questions in the comments below.
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Power in Numbers