"Tigger" is my youngest child. Just like the animated Disney character, his energy is unflagging and his curiosity is endless. He bounces in and out of life with a sparkle in his eye and a spring for a "tail." However, life, particularly his school life, has not been easy.
"Tigger" is my late bloomer...he was late to walk. He was late to talk. The pediatrician told me to relax. After all, he was my "baby." As his mother, I knew there was something that was getting in his way, but I just didn't know what it was. He wanted to talk, he just couldn't. After one of Tigger's check-ups, I told my husband and two older children that we needed to give Tigger more opportunities to talk. The pediatrician suggested that we might be talking for him. Over the next several weeks, we all made a conscious decision to let Tigger talk. He babbled. He screamed. He flashed that toothy grin, but he still had difficulties communicating. My middle son even blurted out to the waiter at a restaurant after she tried to ask Tigger for his order, that Tigger "was a no-talker!"
After 3 1/2 years of intense speech therapy, I am proud to say that Tigger is talking!
What can Tigger teach us as teachers? I work with "promising readers," students who are still working hard to figure this whole reading process thing out. Many of the parent/teacher conferences that I participate in are difficult. Tigger has taught me to go into each conference with something wonderful to share about the student. Schooling can be treacherous for kids like Tigger. In addition, I watch and listen to the child's mother very closely. You can learn a lot by doing this. After all, most Tiggers have insightful, protective Tigeresses in their lairs who know their cub best!