Shuffling the assessment papers, I gently tapped them into a tidy stack and laid them down. The smile was beginning to emanate now, I could feel it, forming itself across my face. I looked across the small, round table at the young lady sitting on the other side, met her gaze. “Well,” I began, “you passed.” And with those words, I quietly closed yet another chapter.
You see, as the reading consultant and specialist at my school, I have the privilege of working with those readers who require “tier three” instruction. This means, essentially, that I provide specialized reading intervention that (hopefully) brings them to grade level. Now in my fifth year in this position, I have learned that these students vary widely in their needs, that they have far less in common than proficient readers do; which means curiosity must become my best friend when I work with them.
This particular student was no different. We had been working together a while now, and, like other students that came before, I had come to know her; hard-working, ambitious, personable, a delight to work with. But now our journey was ending. Sitting at that little table in my office, we discussed her progress, how far she’d come. “Are you proud of yourself?” I asked her. She nodded. Yes, she was proud of herself. She should be, I thought.
And then she was gone. Like many others that came before her, we said good-bye and I watched her walk out the door for the last time. This one is going to be okay, I thought. Next week I will begin working with a new student.
The journey will start again.