Today in my classroom, my children needed a reminder that we all bloom at different paces. I reminded them of where they started, barely reading, and how they have been blooming into chapter book readers slowly and at different paces. Some children were still discouraged by their progress, so I decided that it was time for a personal story.
"Boys and girls, recently I decided to try to learn to dance. I've been attending dance classes at a gym." (zumba, but go with me here) "I have learned that I am a late bloomer. My friends are able to keep up and go the right direction. They look elegant and get the steps all right. But me, not so much. But do I give up?"
In unison, "No, Mrs. Kemp you don't give up."
"I keep trying, thinking that I will bloom soon. Every time I get a little better, but I still have not bloomed." (My demonstrations of my dancing mistakes made them giggle) "Some of you are like me. You are not reading as well as your friends, and that makes you feel embarrassed and frustrated. But you have to keep trying."
We'll see if it hits home with my little friends. Discouragement can be the greatest weight that prevents learning from happening with small children. It struck me today that this is true with adults as well. Sometimes our discouragement and fear of failure can keep us from doing the hard and the great things in life.
I set out to teach my students, but I think that today they taught me.