At the beginning of the school year she thought it would be fun to measure each child up against a ruler on the wall. At the time she thought she was measuring height but she soon realized it was more a measurement of growth.
Each child stood erect as they were measured up against the second grade hallway wall.
“P” was a small boy. His mark on the ruler was the shortest of all. But Mrs. M noticed his eyes stayed on the floor as she made a straight line against the ruler and scribed his name and date.
The year progressed. Mrs. M worked with the whole class one day a week. She chose to not focus on any one child – but began to create reading clusters and worked with all the students – helping out wherever needed. She didn’t claim one individual child as her “buddy” – they were all special to Mrs. M.
When a volunteer approaches her duties this way – it is difficult to measure his or her own impact. Moving the masses is much slower than intently focusing on one child.
But affirmation of contribution came in the form of one quarter of an inch.
It was the day before Christmas break. “P” took his turn for the second wall ruler measurement of the year.
“Wow!” Mrs. M declared with a smile. “You have grown one quarter of an inch!”
He looked her right in the eye and smiled.
Four months, sixteen visits, one quarter of an inch, and one happy moment of eye contact.