After retiring January 20 of this year, I was surprised when I got today’s text. It was from one of the reading specialists with whom I worked, and she wanted information on a student I taught. My surprise waned. I knew this student. I knew her well, and in fact, my out-of-state sisters new this student. We called her Roller Girl, which I will explain later. All in all, I was eager to respond to the text because I knew Roller Girl was getting reading intervention, and this reading specialist cared about her success.
My relationship with roller girl was short and one in which I wasn’t proud. I became her virtual reading intervention teacher after Thanksgiving vacation. It took a couple of days and some help from the classroom teacher before she showed up for her first lesson, and I was to work with her five days a week for 30 minutes.
Roller girl was on the move and rarely sat still. She zoomed via iPad, so lessons became mobile events for her. I will never forget when this was first brought to my attention. I recall being excited when the lesson began. All three students were present, and all were on time. The lesson started with fluency practice, and once that was completed, moved on to word work. This is when I heard, “It’s time to go.” Immediately I thought one of my students was going to leave the lesson early. But that wasn’t the case – even when roller girl told me she had to go to the doctors. My lesson continued when Roller Girl picked her iPad from off the floor and carried it to the family van. We rode in the front passenger seat, while Roller Girl got situated and strapped into her car seat. Up we went as her hands placed us in her lap and the car vroomed off to the doctor’s office. Needless to say, Roller Girl was not very engaged in the lesson, which ended prior to the appointment.
Roller Girl was a challenge to teach. She became part of my weekly Google Meet with my out-of-state sisters who were also teachers. In fact, they are the ones who came up with Roller Girl’s name. I had to tell them about the lesson where Roller Girl donned a bicycle helmet and skated throughout her yard with iPad in hand for her reading lesson, and needless to say, there wasn’t much reading done on her part.
Now here’s the paragraph where I explain why I’m not proud of I being Roller Girl’s reading teacher. Normally I would have been a strong advocate for this student and worked with the classroom teacher, administration, and parents to get her what she needed like a structured home learning environment, a motivation system, and documentation of her difficulties with attention and learning how to read in a Tier 3 meeting. But, if you remember, I started working with Roller Girl after Thanksgiving Vacation. She did not attend my school, but she was at another campus in my district and needed intervention. Because I had openings in my schedule, I was able to provide her reading intervention virtually. I did share my concerns with Roller Girl’s classroom teacher, but I didn’t get the sense of urgency from her that I would have liked to pursue other support systems. Also at this time, I knew I would be retiring in January. Good news is I did meet with an administrator from Roller Girl’s school before my retirement, so I was able to express observations and concerns.
Now Roller Girl pops up in my life again, and it’s time for me to advocate for this student. I immediately respond to the reading specialist’s text: “Sure, I can meet with you, and I’d love to tell you all I know about this student.”