Friday, March 4, 2011

School Days

Our writers challenge for the month of March was to write something about "school days." Here is what I shared:


"You have nice handwriting," the cashier says as I sign my name on a check.
"Why, thanks," is all I manage to reply, but part of me wants to tell her my story.

See, I'm the kind of person whose mind races so far ahead that my hand cannot keep up as I write. Typing at a computer is much faster, but we didn't really have computers in the classroom when I was first in school. The fifth grade homeroom had an early model computer, but it was all text-based - no windows, and students were rarely allowed to use it. All this is to say that our assignments had to be hand-written, and it was important that the words be legible.

I had always done very well in school, but I ran into a problem in fifth grade. My teacher could not read my writing when grading my assignments. Rather than give me a failing grade, he asked me to read the assignment to him. My handwriting was so poor that even I could not read it to him. My teacher - Mr. Harris - could have failed me for the assignment, but instead he took to helping me. I'll never forget what he said to me on that particular afternoon: "April, you have great potential, but you will never get anywhere if people cannot read your words."

His simple words and his care for my growth and development as a student led to handwriting classes after school. Every day, while the other kids were in detention, I re-learned how to write my letters. I had to practice writing slowly, deliberately, before I was able to write more quickly. Mr. Harris could have ignored my struggle with handwriting. He could have labeled me as a problem student or as someone with little promise in schooling, but he didn't. He took time with me and did what he could to prepare me for life. Mr. Harris didn't just teach me how to write clearly, he helped me to express myself. He didn't just help my hand catch up with my mind, he taught me to present my work to others in away that could have an impact on my world.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, I just wrote a post which got gone due to a bad connection, so here goes another...

    Your post confirmed an earlier statement I made to a friend who just got home from having brain surgery. We were close friends in Jr. and High School and loved writing to each other back in the day.

    She told me she almost died, was in a coma for six weeks, and my prayers for her, "Worked!" Oh, and they had to shave her whole head, so she was going out wig shopping today.

    It was so good to hear from her at last, as the whole time I only caught what her husband said on Twitter as to her progress.

    So, I thought, I can't email back a response to this and told her I would be, "Writing a Snail Mail" soon, so I wouldna forget how to write!

    My hand gets kinda shaky anymore whenever I try to write letters, but I am going to also try to learn calligraphy while resting here on my back, just to keep the old fashioned passion going.

    I taught the kids cursive with A becka curriculum, and James, esp. had lovely writing for a while. Now it is at least legible!

    I am so glad you learned to write doing real handwriting!