Wednesday, March 12, 2014

#sol14 March 12 Mrs. Ferreri?

"Mrs. Ferreri?" he asked hesitantly.  It was clear he was not 100% sure that I was, but willing to make a stab at a chance encounter with someone he long ago knew. 

I'm sure I looked older than usual, and certain I looked older than the teacher that man-child remembered!  At that moment in the Shop Rite checkout line, donned in aging yoga pants, an ancient fleece and without make-up, I am sure I looked like someone I did not want to be.

I turned and looked at him; yet, it was clear to me I did not have a clue who this man, with a slightly familiar face, who was probably once a child at my reading table was!

Perhaps I squinted a bit, or furrowed my brow as I tried valiantly to remember.
Perhaps I stalled for a second or two as the marbles swirled in my head and I tried valiantly to remember.  Perhaps I smiled as I looked at his gleaming face. 

"Dad, can I get this Whimpy Kid book, please? the young boy behind him implored even before I could ask this man-child his name.  Now this young boy DID look VERY familiar, yet I knew with 100% certainly that I was not his teacher!

"Oh, Chris," that man child smiled, "I want you to meet MY reading teacher, Mrs. Ferreri.  Remember when I told you that I had a hard time learning to read?  Well this is the lady who for six years told me I was becoming a reader.  I did not really believe her at the time, but she never stopped believing that I would read.  She is the one who gave me that book about the dinosaur that you loved last year."

"Oh, XXXXX," I said, the words coming somehow from the deepest recesses of my memory, "you and your son have made my day. He is adorable and I love that he is begging you for books!"

"What you don't know," the man-child said, "is that Chris had a very had time learning to read, just like me.  I used to tell him stories about my days growing up as a struggling reader.  When he cried and did anything to avoid books, I told him stories about learning to read and the teachers who make your read even when you don;'t want to do so!  Somehow, I am not sure how this happened, but this year, he has turned it on and become a bit of a reader!  Chris's reading teachers says it is because his mom and I did not stop believing he would  become a reader.  I've thought of you a lot lately.  It's good to see you.  Thank you for believing in me."

I turned to wave after I checked out, but Chris and XXXX were talking about the Whimpy Kid.  "It was great to see you again," I said.   XXXX waved, engrossed in some savory chapter about some Whimpy Kid, it appeared, and I left Shop Rite, a bit wispy around the corners of my eyes!



Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, this is the encounter we hope for!

Jaana said...

I am SO glad I came across your post tonight! This is the reason teachers never give up. You installed hope in your student, and now he is installing that same hope in his own son! You are a true teacher!

Tammy Conrad said...

Aren't you lucky to have been in the right place at the right time, actually for the child in your classroom and then later for him as a grown man. You must do a great job - good for you!

Leigh Anne Eck said...

To make a difference - isn't that what it's all about? That is what drives us, fuels us, makes us proud to be a teacher! Thank you for sharing your story.