A Near Miss

If you have ever heard of the This I Believe segment of NPR, in my opinion, that was one of the most personal, moving, and insightful aspects of NPR I had ever heard.

Each year, an English teacher has made that part of their English curriculum, and it is 100% liberating for students, and a powerful, impactful, forward-thinking project in the teacher’s English class.

Those of you that know me, or do not know me, know a typical library day is not your typical day. It is easy to get lost in the mix, definitely lost in the stress, and can be one small fire after another, that just simply needs to be contained. Thursday was such a day and in the middle of what seemed a whirlwind, a student asked me, “Mr. Brake, do you want to read this?” My answer was at this moment – “After the previous 20 people that have asked me for their help are met, we can see!” and honestly, I did not think today was the day a read of someone’s writing would occur.

Am I ever glad it did.

Almost 40 minutes later, something in the back of my mind itched saying, if asked, you need to try to make time to read that student’s writing, if they asked.

I pushed myself over to the student, away from incessant phone ringing, and sat down to what I found was one of the best writings of the day. This student had spilled out their heart and a traumatic event to be one of the most detailed and meaningful reveals of something that occurred in their life, and it took me by surprise that they were willing to reveal the depth of their experience. Yet, I realized this was therapeutic for the student, and the ability to ue writing as a vehicle was even more so.

The Library Media Specialist position is one of very unique and specialized skills, the Information Degree is more than just a master’s, it is a degree in so many angles of understanding, on a research level, on a diversity level, on a personal level, on a curriculum and student level, out of three Master’s Degrees, this degree has stood out on its own easily and I realized that today with this student’s reading.

Had I also found myself “too busy” to take in the student amid the things that usually stress me out, this near miss would linger in my memory for awhile, and I felt would as well in how the student had come to know the services of the library and the ability of words to impact their library experience.

I realized sometimes the near miss is always worth contemplating before missing it, and am glad that I was able to involve this student is realizing their words, and every word, is so very important, especially theirs.

About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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