I got a call yesterday from Jackie’s English teacher. She acknowledged Jackie’s language skill but encouraged us to help her or pay attention to her spelling. I love Jackie’s phonetical writing. It’s endearing. Conrad as a native speaker didn’t spell much better when he was her age. I honestly had no concern about her English speaking and writing abilities. She only occasionally asks us how this it that is spelled, but I have no other involvement. And I love it. She asks for plenty of guidance in math, but I came to turns with it and I see it as a call to walk alongside her till she gets steady.
Her English teacher has the best intentions, I’m sure, but Jackie is striving to learn to spell correctly, and she is actually good most of the time. But I’ve decided to not insist. To let Jackie be.
Today, as she was going over some math tests, Jackie was out of sorts. When called upon, her raged voice and distracted mind caused her to give the wrong answers. Under pressure, she freezes. I’m not justifying her lack of success, I’m just seeing things with different eyes. As her mic was muted, I encouraged her to relax her heart and focus. Because I heard her whisker the right answers to all the prior questions. She knows the multiplication table better and better. But though the teacher is so patient with them all, the fear of failure, the speed, the tension of being put on the spot, freezes her. As I acknowledged her abilities, her skill, she stood up straight. Her voice got clearer. Oh, the fact that she needs words of encouragement and I know it is a blessing and a gift. May I always be aware and lavishly generous with her! Always!