Leila Davenport Ross | Charleston, South Carolina
I have always loved words- big ones, little ones, interesting ones, simple ones, words that are fun to say, etc. I especially love to hear a six year old read them slowly and steadily from a page in a book or write them down on a piece of paper with the concentration and care of a tight rope walker. That's why I taught first grade in a public school for five years. Some children are lucky enough to learn literacy from a family member; this process begins at infancy under ideal circumstances. But the sad reality is that many of our children learn in an old, moldy classrooms under florescent lights with the help of kind, passionate, patient teachers. When the right pathways connect in their little brains, the magic of literacy happens... it is amazing to witness firsthand. Smiles wash over their faces (usually a tooth or two is missing) and to feel their true happiness and pride. Unfortunately, I fall directly into the U.S. statistic of a young teacher who quits after a five year burn out due to bureaucratic red tape, the emotional toil of some abused or neglected students, the ridiculous demands
of standardized testing, being overworked and underpaid, blah, blah. So now, I am in limbo about what to do with my crazy life- still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. I also must believe that my teaching a few great kids how to read and write and instilling the love of learning in them in some way, has paid off. My love of words however, remains steadfast.