Goose-Chasing Change

By: Chris Yarrell

There’s something incredibly intoxicating about finding something you love. To a greater degree, there is something intoxicating about the prospect of finding something you love,the latter of which requires action that is vigorous: a veritable goose-chase, if you will. While you are chasing this love, or goose, or whatever you call it, you begin to learn more about what you’re chasing, and more about yourself. This blog is intended to be about my service, broadly defined. This is also a story about my penchant for the evolution and growth of those who I serve, and the seemingly perpetual, unending love that I have for changing our world through love and education.

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The most compelling example of the aforementioned chase is one that takes place in the library at Lake Middle School. Each day, I enjoy reading with a select number of students (ranging from two to four students, depending on the class) for about 20-30 minutes. The students who join these groups are asked to join so that their reading skills can improve.These specific students have documented challenges with reading comprehension, fluency, and otherwise. What I find interesting about our reading groups is the range of emotions displayed by these students as they struggle with any given text; from anger, to jubilation – and everything in between – the students who I work with have shone a light on my addiction to the chase.

As I listen to my students stumble over words that are two-to-three grade levels below them, and as I see the impending look of frustration on their face and in their tone, I patiently wait. I wait for them to get to a point with a word or words, or a sentence, or the context of a passage until they have one of two choices: to give up or persevere. This is the chase for me. I’ve become addicted to the privilege of helping each of my students understand, as best I can, that getting a question right or wrong isn’t the only priority in our efforts – it’s their perseverance. Yes, of course we would like to get this question right on the first try, or understand what the author was trying to convey during the initial reading – but sometimes it doesn’t work that way; often times it doesn’t work that way. Whether we’re looking at a simple homework assignment, or a multi-faceted project – my addiction to the chase is essentially my commitment to not just having my students improve for the sake of improvement, but having each student understand the beauty and importance of persevering in the face of adversity during his or her quest for improvement.

My hope is that my students continue to learn and welcome trial openly and earnestly. My hope is that my students accomplish only the things that bring them joy, irrespective of what they have been told or how difficult the undertaking. My hope is that my students never give up on themselves or the world that they are destined to positively impact. As for me: I see it appropriate to continue loving my addiction to the chase.

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