...always a teacher.
I think this is definitely true of me. Katie once asked me if I could start over and choose any career, what would I choose. I didn't even really have to think about it, telling her that I would still choose teaching. I have found that excitement again this year. I'm working with a group of children in grades 5-8. I have about 9 who are faithful to come each day, but there are 24 names on my list. These children are all struggling with learning to read and write. There are some who know how to write their name, and others who do not. Many of them actually struggle with letter and number recognition. It has been an interesting task deciding what exactly I can do with them in two hours each day.
We started off the year learning the alphabet. We still have a ways to go with this, but they are making progress. I've had them practicing writing their names and other important words to them. I wrote some very easy, predictive text books with good picture support to help them gain confidence in their reading abilities. I also looked up a list of high-frequency words in English and translated this to use as the list of high frequency words for our classroom. Last week we had our first ten words, and by the end of the week, they were able to recall what the words were without the help of sounding out the individual letter.
On that note, here's a interesting fact about Romanian. It's a phonetic language. This means that what you see is what you say...always.* Oh, that English were more like that! I can't imagine how much easier it would have been to teach children in the States to read if English were more phonetic.
Besides all of these words, I've also been teaching some basic math skills. These children are so far behind that even single-digit addition and subtraction are too difficult for them. We've been working on visual strategies to help them gain an understanding of the concepts of addition and subtraction. They are getting better and better each day.
Most of these kids have had few successes in school. They have been told by their teachers and their peers that they "can't" or "don't know how to" read, write, or do anything in school. One of the boys told me this week that he had never read before. Another boy, after reading one of the predictive books, proudly announced, "I did it!" It's my hope that they will continue to have these feelings of success.
*I guess saying "always" is setting myself up for all sorts of people telling me that there are exceptions. My reply to this is that there are far more exceptions in English! :)