As a Title I teacher, I work with several students one on one or in a small group for thirty minutes a day. My heart can be swept away in each of those minutes.
Allison, a kindergartener with puppy-dog brown eyes and the sweetest smile, is one little gal who has captured my heart. Her hugs are the best! I think her teacher is blessed to have her all day long.
At the beginning of the year, she talked about missing her mom, who had a stroke and was in a coma since July. I wanted every moment to count when she was with me. Home reading was not a reality at the time. Besides, my motherly heart longed to fill her with loving kindness, joy, and specialness (which I did my best to do.)
When I would pick Allison up for group time, she would say, “Mrs. Gensch. Know why I like to sit right across from you? ‘Cause you’re the bestest!” She’d squeeze me hard and my heart melted!!!
Allison’s mom passed away in November. I wanted to take her home, to comfort her, to make the void go away. I knew her mother would be proud of Allison, the politeness she showed everyone, her kindness, and her quick learning.
We continued to work hard in group. She grew in her reading skills from a pre-A to a level D (Fountas & Pinnell) by the end of January. Once she answered a question cleverly and I stated, “You are so smart, Allison.” Responding, she nodded confidently, “I know, Mrs. Gensch. I have a smart brain!” (I can still see her pointing to her head, nodding.)
Allison ‘graduated’ from daily intervention, meaning I don’t have her in group. She continues to grow as a reader. I see her most days, capturing a smile and a wave. Hugs are cherished and shared freely. I’ll be watching Allison as she goes through her school journey. Allison shares a piece of my heart, ’cause she’s the bestest!