Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Emotional Teacher Moment of the Day by Sandra Valentine

Remember your worth. This sweet child reminded me of mine on one of the toughest years I've had in my personal life.

**Emotional Teacher Moment of the Day**

With state testing the first week of April, it really is crunch time. I thought about putting our daily journals to the side until after the test, but today I fell in love with them more.

Like any other class across America, my classroom is very diverse. I have gifted, on grade level, and I also have a handful who are well below 3rd grade.

For those students, these next two weeks will have added pressure and frustration as I hammer through yet another test taking strategy or do a quick review over a concept they are still struggling with from August.

Yesterday, however, I saw a fresh faced student really having a great time writing about the adventures over Spring Break. This child is not on level, but that doesn't matter when it comes to journals.

When I called her over today so we could talk about her journal, her eyes lit up.

As I opened her journal to her last entry, my heart grew and tears formed. Not only did she have a complete sentence, but she had written an entire paragraph. It wasn't "up to 3rd grade standards" whatever that means to the State of Oklahoma, but it was her own personal work that she was very proud of.

I listened with great excitement as she read me her story and talked me through the pictures she had drawn to accompany her entry. I flipped to the very front of her journal after she was done and I showed her the tremendous growth she had just presented to me. Her first entry was just a picture. Her 3rd entry had its first word. Today, she showed me the first paragraph.

She told me how she tried her hardest to sound out words and the letters to the sounds she didn't know for sure, she tried her best on. I told her how extremely proud of her I was and she replied,

"You teach good to me."

I said, "Oh, you think I teach the class well? Thank you."
She said, "I don't know about everyone else, but you teach good to me. I understand you. You teach me. You teach good to me."

I asked her about her feelings on the state test and she said she was really worried about the reading part since she can't read, but was excited to show off her Math skills. She said she was ready to show the State of Oklahoma all she had learned this year.

The sad truth is that this child may not pass the state test.
But you know what? This teacher couldn't be more proud of her. This teacher couldn't be more proud of her today. In fact, when this school year is over, she will probably be the child I miss "teaching" the most.

I wish I could show the world her gains this school year. I wish I could show the world her creativity, her personal best, her friendly face and forgiving heart. I wish I could show the world how intelligent she is despite what a state test may or may not say.

The real beauty is that I won't have to because she will show the world how amazingly talented she is, how beautiful her voice is, and how artfully skilled she is with a pencil and that, State of Oklahoma, will be way more than the numbered score, or label, you would have given her.


  1. Thank you for writing this, and for what you bring to the classroom. Finally, thank you for what you bring to the lives of the future.

  2. Thank you for writing this. I teach in NY--the land of testing. Two weeks ago, I started a resistance publication, called Teaching in Trump's America. It is a platform for sharing teacher's authentic stories. Would you be willing to post it on this very new publication? Here is the link if you want to check it out: https://medium.com/teaching-in-trumps-america . Thank you, Laura


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