There is one thing that I do love about teaching middle school - all of the students know how to read and write (well, for the most part).
I have always been mystified about how kindergarten and first grade teachers get students to that beginning level of reading and writing. It was not covered at all in my Masters program and as a science major in college I didn't take any classes on it then either. I have always realized that K-2 probably wasn't a good fit for me because I can't imagine being that responsible for a child's future education.
Well, now I have my own little five year old and I am doing the very thing I have feared for so long - teaching someone the basics of reading and writing. I am by no means doing it alone - she goes to preschool - or even the right way for all I can tell, but we are doing it nonetheless.
I feel that right now she is on the cusp of reading which is amazing to see. Kids' memories are incredible! While I know she isn't actually reading yet she can recite a whole long list of books at our house. I know that she is getting closer to reading because she can find the first letter of a word and make a really good guess as to what it is based on the picture and context of the story.
We did have one little problem earlier this week with the letter S. She just could not write it, despite the fact that I know she has written it in the past. Anyway, it just wasn't happening, they kept coming out looking like funky threes.
She was getting frustrated and I was getting frustrated - it was not a good situation. So, we let it go and did something else for a while.
I am guessing that this is how it goes for everyone during this important learning time - two steps forward, one step back...
I don't mind the occasional bumps in the road as long as we keep trying. After all, with something as important as reading and writing giving up is not an option :).