Appreciating our pieces of the puzzle

appreciate

      I can think of a million things I appreciate; my awesome in-laws, my husband, a sunny day, my daughter, a great pizza. But, I think that I overuse the word. So, I did what every youngster does these days; I Googled it. (Now, don’t get nervous. Seeing the definition in print was just helpful!)Google defines appreciate “1.) recognize the full worth of 2.) understand (a situation) fully: recognize the full implications of.” I appreciate each and every one of our volunteers, supporters, and students. It is like we are all puzzle pieces that fit together to make a big picture. If just one of the pieces is missing, we can’t be whole. Personally, I appreciate our volunteers, supporters and students. Every one of them puts forth so much effort and time to help build our community to be a stronger place.

This week, I’d like to focus on Google’s second definition; to understand the situation fully or to recognize the full implications of. I suppose the question here is do you recognize what our students face? It took me awhile to appreciate it, to be able to really understand. I’ve encountered a few things recently to help me appreciate what our students feel and the battle they face every day.

      1. A documentary about young girls and the education that helped shape their lives helped me comprehend the power of learning. Some of these girls risk their lives to learn. Although our students do not risk their lives to get to our lessons, they show great bravery to be here.
      2. The other day, a student was working on a pre-writing exercise. He seemed slightly uninterested at first, but when I kept pushing him he just stopped, with his pencil hovered over the paper. At first, I thought he was working out the spelling, so I told him to write first, edit later. Not looking up, he grinned, and I saw his eyes glow with excitement. He got it. He realized, at that exact moment, that he was writing a story. He was creating something. I witnessed him realizing for the first time that it was not a struggle the way it used to be.
      3. I was told by someone that a girl they know will never learn to read because they think she is dyslexic. This made me realize the challenge our world faces in conquering the stigma of illiteracy.
      4. John Corcoran, author of The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read stated in a speech that not teaching a child to read is a form of neglect. This made me realize the polar views of someone who used to not be able to read and someone who has never had to struggle to decode symbols into words.

I realize that the above examples are gloomy and they do not give off that happy-rainbows-and-butterflies-fuzzy feeling. However, it is a reality. It is a reality that I can fully grasp.

I am able to fully acknowledge the challenges that each of us faces and that aids me to have something beyond appreciation for all of our pieces to our puzzle. Because I fully understand the situation we all face, I am able to do more than recognize the worth of our volunteers, supporters, and students. I admire them. I appreciate and applaud their commitment, dedication, and hard work.

Courtney Keating, Education Coordinator

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