Thursday, December 9

The Silence of Reading

I just had one of those incredible moments that brings a teacher close to tears.  Happy tears!

I was sitting in my classroom on this bitterly cold winter morning.  I was not feeling well, and I admit, a bit grouchy.  I was working with students one-on-one during Reading Workshop and hiding my yearnings for winter break.

In between meeting with students, I would grade a paper or two, check my notes for students that I wanted to work with, and even glance over at Twitter on my laptop.  Amidst all of this, I suddenly noticed the silence.  Besides the soft music in the background, there wasn't a sound.

I looked up and saw every one of my students so engaged in the books they were reading, I worried if they were even breathing.  Suddenly, my entire view of the day changed.  This is what matters.  They were reading.  Every student was reading.   Every student was reading a novel they had chosen.  They were barely moving except to turn pages.  Not a sound.  The silence of reading filled the room.
The joy I felt watching them brought tears to my eyes.  This is my second year with this group and when I got them, they were considered to be the toughest group in the school.  Now, they are the example for other classes.  Rather than jump for joy or tell them what I was feeling and interrupt the beauty of the moment, I just watched.

When this period is over, I plan on telling them how magical it was for me to watch them read.  I will ask them to share with the group where they were in their novels.  I will listen and let the moment be filled with joy.

Suddenly, I was warm and giddy without any of my earlier grumpiness.


Tara said...

What a wonderful moment! I'm glad to had the opportunity to step back and recognize the value of all the work you've put into their reading lives.

Anonymous said...

That is one of the most magical moments ever! From a teacher's perspective, those are the moments that remind us why we became teachers.

I taught reading a few years ago to middle school students on lower reading levels. Getting them to read was like pulling teeth. The administrator came to observe me twice, and both times my struggling readers were reading! I remember smiling at them and telling them how proud I was of them.

On my evaluation, the administrator said this was the second time he had come in and I wasn't teaching anything. He didn't realize he came in to the same class at the same time, and, apparently, he didn't realize it was a READING class.

ALL of my kids were reading in READING class. Evaluation be damned. That group of kids were on struggling levels, and they worked hard for me, and seeing them engaged in reading is a WONDERFUL teacher moment.

I got all tingly for you as I read your post because it brought back similar wonderful previous experiences.

What a nice added bonus!