Skip to main content

Lynda Mullaly Hunt's Mr. Daniels

A friend recently gave me a copy of Lynda Mullaly Hunt's Fish in a Tree. I devoured the middle-grade book in just two days, and I ended it wanting to be more like the main character's teacher, Mr. Daniels.

This book reminded me of why I wanted to be a teacher. Growing up, school was a safe place for me. I felt accepted, and I knew I knew that I had adults who cared about me and that showed an unwavering commitment to making sure I learned and, most importantly, felt safe. That is exactly who Mr. Daniels is.

Ally Nickerson, the main character, suffers from dyslexia. She knows she's different from everyone else, and a few of her peers make her painfully aware that they notice it too. But things change when Mr. Daniels becomes their teacher. He treats all students with respect, and he works to show every student that all types of learning are valued.

With less than a month before school starts, this is who I want to be. Remaining steadfastly positive is so difficult when we see 150 students with 150 different needs and 150 different backgrounds and circumstances. But at the end of the day, just like I've heard said before, students don't necessarily remember what we teach them. They remember how we make them feel.

We can make every student feel valued, even if they don't show up every day. We can make every student feel valued, even if they never come prepared. We can make every student feel valued, even if we feel overwhelmed with mandates, demands, and papers to grade. We very well might be the only people that make them feel valuable.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Handwritten Cue Cards in the 21st Century

I just stumbled upon this behind-the-scenes clip of Saturday Night Live's cue card process. This is intense writing. This is writing that is dependent upon trust and checks and balances. Over a short period of time, skits are written, drafted on cards, revised, and the cards revised over and over again. I also really love that SNL continues to use cue cards and not a teleprompter. Like Wally points out, technology can fail. Handwritten cue cards ensure the show goes on. Comedy is hard work. Writing is hard work. Changes are made up until the last minute to get things just right. This is a form of real-world writing.

Don't Be Misled by $778 At-Risk Payments

Governor Snyder recently proposed a $778 increase per economically disadvantaged pupil in Michigan. At first glance, this looks good. Who can argue with an announcement like this: An increase of $150 million, to a total of $529 million, to ensure that children in difficult financial situations are getting the help they need. All districts and public school academies will now be eligible to receive an additional $778 per pupil to assist at-risk students. After all, it's money for at-risk students . We instantly assume that the governor is proposing helping our neediest students, which should make us all jump for joy. And we know from the adequacy study done last year that our poorest students require greater funding (30% more!) to educate if we ever hope to close the achievement gap, not to mention their general recommendation of $8,667 per pupil as a foundation allowance (note that many districts in Michigan still receive far less than this). But the real problem of inequ

Reading Glasses

"Let me guess... You teach English?" I've been asked the same question by nearly everyone when I reveal that I'm a teacher. I can thank my distant relatives for the name change to "English" from a Polish surname that we can only remember how to pronounce and never to spell. I've noticed that revealing you're an English teacher elicits one of two reactions: 1) People either stop talking and are afraid that you will correct, critique, nitpick (<insert the pedantic verb of your choice>); or 2) People feel as if you are on their side and agree that something is taking place to the detriment of the wonderful, precious English language. And it was during my routine eye exam that my optometrist goaded me into the second camp. He expected sympathy when he said, "I once had a secretary who would use 'seen' without the helping verb." And I responded with a quick, "Oh?', hoping to move the conversation away from the stereoty