Recently, I’ve been trying to be more mindful of the small, but special moments in my life for often our happiness is found not in major events, but in ordinary events which bring a small measure of joy. I just had one of those “small moments”.
For several months, I’ve been helping a bright, articulate high school girl improve her non-fiction reading skills and hone her ability to answer tricky test questions. Today, I rushed out of school to be home in time for our 5:00 appointment. It was a busy day and I was beat…not really looking forward to “teaching” for yet another hour.
As usual, this lovely young woman arrived promptly at 5:00. After a bit of chit-chat, we began working on two related passages, practicing good reading strategies, marking up the text and preparing to discuss it. Elaine worked diligently, following directions to the letter, reading with a high level of focus and stamina, preparing to discuss the salient points of both articles. Using the first stance from Kylene Beer’s latest book, our discussion centered on what surprised us. The issue of the contaminated water in Flint, Michigan was the topic of both articles and there was plenty of facts contained in the articles that stunned both of us. By the time we finished sharing reactions, our session was almost over. I reviewed the purpose of strategies we had used and encouraged Elaine to try to approach non-fiction text using the “What surprises me?” stance we had practiced.
As Elaine prepared to leave, we laughed and talked about a few ordinary things, she thanked me and I closed the door. Suddenly, I realized I was no longer tired. “Working” with this sweet high school student challenged and invigorated me. Elaine’s happy and grateful demeanor, her ability to work purposefully, and her high level of motivation kept our session moving in a positive manner. This impressive young lady fills me with a sense of optimism about today’s youth and I enjoy the small, special moments I share with her.