Teachers have success stories.
“Yeah, James came into my fourth grade class hating to read. He comprehended at the first grade level. The first thing I did was to encourage him to read, and then I inspired him to love reading. He became consumed with fiction books, read voraciously, and he took my suggestions for comprehending with contextual cues, predicting, and analyzing character motives. He then moved onto non-fiction material, flew through the classics, is now reading Aristotle’s “On Man and the Universe” and finishing up an essay titled “Principles of Post Nicomachean Ethics” that some publishing company in New York is interested in, and he’s reading at the twelfth grade level.”
Teachers have other stories.
“Yeah, it’s not going so well with Jimmy. He started my class absorbed in books and reading at the sixth grade level. Now he is reading at the middle of the first grade level, is on a school district required AIP and is going to qualify for summer school for the first time in his life, hates to read, has forgotten his adding subtracting facts, no longer knows his times tables, and his parents have given me the nickname ‘Mr. Hoover’ because I am sucking the brains out of their boy like a “Wind Tunnel Supreme” upright.”
The second scenario happens to every teacher, sometime. Most of those teachers get all worked about it, put a proverbial monkey on their back, and then start jumping around like they really are a Shop Vac sucking the kid’s cerebrum out of their skulls through the ear canal. I have learned that there are many inexplicable reasons why the learning process slows. Yes, sometimes a student and a teacher just don’t jive. Something could be going on at home. Maybe the student is sitting next to their first love and can’t keep their mind on their work and the fifth grade becomes a blur because all you can think about is Marjorie and the way her black curls flowed down her head to her shoulders and when she smiled you heard yourself moan something like, “oh um yeah uh uh oh,” and your parents can’t quite figure out what is going on and neither can your teacher. But I digress.
Nobody should panic. I don’t. Learning is not an emergency.