I considered calling out.
“Hello, This is me. I’m doing well, so I’m not coming okay?”
No. I wanted to hear it from him. The surgeon who had less than four weeks ago cut my body and removed an offending piece. So, off I went, driving nearly an hour and 15 minutes and arriving only a little late. Calls, texts, and emails arrived along the route. I responded to some. (I use Bluetooth in the car.)
Get into the exam room. Wait
Look at the cell phone. Check messages. Check email. Respond to texts. You know, THOSE texts. I’m worried. At last, in comes the God of all Surgeons.
“How are you feeling?”
“I feel great.”
“Good. Keep doing that.”
Seriously? Is he really just going to say THAT?
“Let me see the incision.”
(Yeah, I know. Four weeks out from back surgery and I KNOW it LOOKS good. Feels pretty good too. But I didn’t come here for that. That, I already know.)
“I’d like to start physical therapy.”
“Okay, we’ll give you some. But not for another month.”
WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I DROVE ALL THE WAY UP HERE LEAVING SCHOOL FOR THIS?
“If you start too soon you’ll just reinjure it I’ll have Jenny give you a prescription.”
Master surgeon reaches out, shakes my hand and holds the top of my hand he is shaking with his other hand. He looks into my eyes. “You’re doing really well.” I want to hug him. He FIXED me. I was in more pain than childbirth and he took it away. I smile, managing a “thank you,” just grateful he exists. Thankful medicine has come SO incredibly far.
Out he goes. I wait. Nothing.
Precious minutes pass. Finally, I take it into my own hands and get aggressive. I procure the requisite PT prescription.
I return to my car. But, as I get into the driver’s seat I notice something under my wiper blade. I’m annoyed. I’m worried about the student. I get back out and look. No. It isn’t an advertisement. It is a ticket. A $68.00 ticket.
What in the world?
I look again at the parking sign I had examined as I parked and rushed up to the doctor’s office. It said I could park here…
I am a teacher. A reading teacher. I am a principal. A literacy specializing principal. And yet I read the sign WRONG!?! How could I have misread it?
I looked at it carefully and considered the impliations when I arrived. Then I realize.
Reading is only as good as understanding.
Reading is understanding.
I know this.
I believe this with all of my heart.
Here it is in green and white. ON A SIGN!
What did I read? What was I thinking?
I was ready to park. I was nearly late. I do not DO late. I was worried about more pressing matters back at school. I thought, “Hey. Here’s a spot. Thank you. It says PARKING! That’s all I want to pay attention to.”
All the way back to school I consider the implications of my error. Here I was, a full fledged adult and I had completely misread a very important sign. It cost me a lot of money. And yet.
It hit me that when we teach children to read we must consider their state of mind. Increased anxiety equals reduced comprehension. That is what I had just experienced. And I paid for it. Our students pay too. In lower comprehension. In lower achievement. In a less rich, less rewarding reading experience.
I arrived back at school. Met with parents. Worked through the issue I was so worried about when I left. And the day continued as days tend to do. But I was different. I understood as I hadn’t before the importance of context and state of mind to comprehension. This is something I want to explore more in the coming weeks. This is something that can affect the lives of the children we serve.
What stands in the way of your child’s reading comprehension?
How can we help children overcome the stumbling blocks to understanding?