I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just ten hours from now I will have completed my training to be a clinician at Lindamood-Bell. Eighty hours of training. I am tired, a bit bleary-eyed, and yet I feel energized.
Not only have I joined a very positive team of young people who are totally committed to student success, but I have already gained some tools to join them in that quest — teaching reading and comprehension to students who may have begun to believe that they will never be successful in school.
I know I’ve already gushed about this place and its positivity but, guys, it is so positive that I just can’t help but feel good about going to work — even on Friday — even when I know I won’t be getting home until after 7:00pm — even when I’m exhausted.
Here are some reasons why:
- as I was walking into work yesterday a little 6-year-old boy I had met the day before saw me, smiled, waved, and said, “hi!”
- when I entered the office my trainer announced, “I brought us some doughnuts!”
- two minutes later my teammate arrived carrying a jug of Starbucks mocha to share.
- right about then, a former employee who is rejoining the summer force walked in to hugs and smiles.
- in the middle of our training, a staff member knocked on our door so that a shy, beaming student could say hello to the returning staff member.
- throughout the day our supervisor peeked into our training to cheer us on.
- When I forgot to punch out for lunch, my teammate texted me before I even got to the stairs to remind me
- In the last fifteen minutes of our day, during role-playing, my ‘student’ made an error — if you have read my earlier posts, you know that I am supposed to praise the parts she got right and help her discover her own mistake. Well, it was 6:20pm (well past my typical pajama time). She spelled a word in the air with her finger and added an extra letter. I put my hand up, “erased” what she had written saying “No, no, no, no, no!” (My former students are shaking their heads.) But here’s the part that I love. My fellow trainees burst out in laughter. They didn’t judge me for using the forbidden “n” word. They didn’t shake their fingers and say, “Kristin, you know you are supposed to praise these students.” They just laughed and laughed. So I laughed. And then choked. And then struggled, while choking, to correct myself. That’s the spirit of this place — it is pure positivity.
- As we were packing up our supplies and grabbing our coats, one of my co-workers suggested we go out for lunch during our break today, just like we did last Friday. You know, just us girls who have been training together for two weeks.
- Then I discovered, along with my fellow newbie, that one of our coworkers had nominated us for an award. It’s just common practice to point out the positive things you see your coworkers doing. You write it down on a card, the card goes in a box, and once a month a card gets drawn for a prize. In the two weeks we have been on the job, we have had our names put in the box about a half dozen times!
I guess I am mostly surprised by the simplicity of it all. The company stresses positivity — insists on it. And, as far as I can tell, they have 100% buy-in. All day long the staff cheer on each other — “great job!” “I like the way you handled that!” “Thanks for helping out with the dishes!” “You brought me candy? You’re sweet!” — and these cheers spill over onto the kids — “Wow! You spelled ten words correctly!” “You read that whole book? You’re amazing!” “Let’s go show the others how fast you can read these sight words!”
It’s critical. It’s non-negotiable. These kids, the same ones who have failed over and over in school, are coming to do hard work — some of them for four hours a day, five days a week! They need some cheering. You know, the kind of cheering that lines the streets, yelling at the top of its lungs, throwing confetti, and shooting off fireworks.
And that’s what I get to do — cheer, yell, throw confetti, watch fireworks, and see kids succeed. Bam.
Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound and all that is in it.