Time to say goodbye to Dr. Turner's 50th Literacy Practicum Teachers. 12 teachers providing 55,000 dollars worth of free tutoring to local school children. Our Literacy Center has provided over a million dollars of free services during my 20 years as our director. But, it is not about me, it is about these amazing teachers who come to study and earn their advanced graduate degree in Literacy. The journey usually takes about 2 years and requires dedication, deep study, and intense commitments from teachers with full-time teaching positions during the day. What can I say to them in their final class? That explains they inspired, they lifted our children, parents, Literacy Center, and their professor. They are our heroes, our COVID Warriors!
At the start of this course, I tell them I am their Captain. I am a good captain who brings all his passages to port safely. I ask them to trust me, to take me at my word, and then I do everything I can to bring home safely. I fill up a glass of water halfway. I ask what kind of Literacy Specialist do children most need? Half-Empty, or Half-Full ones? Everyone calls out Half-Full ones. I say they deserve more than Half-Full Literacy Specialists. Then I place the glass in a large glass bowl, pour in water until the glass overflows. I say children deserve Literacy Specialists who fill their own glasses. With each pour of water, I call out one of the 10 courses they take to earn their advanced degree in Literacy. Then I welcome these glass filling teachers to our Literacy Center Practicum.
For our last class, there is some course business, not much, and then there is my letter to these teachers we called our Literacy Clinicians and Reading Professionals.
Just like you, I took a “diagnosis course”, and wondered why any teacher would want to leave the classroom to become a Literacy Specialist. Never in my widest dream back then, did I believe that one day I would end up teaching the thing… Yet, here I am. I promise you this pandemic shall end; better days are coming. You will have many new teaching and learning adventures. Your lessons shall bring hope and humanity to all you teach. It’s all good people.
You cannot allow the negativity to wear you down. Struggling readers don’t need just any teacher; they need incredibly talented and committed Literacy Specialists. Be unshakable in becoming the Reading Professional you always dreamed of becoming. Stand up, be counted, and never waver, for you are becoming Connecticut’s most highly certified Literacy Professionals. You shall become the experts you have always waited for.