Wednesday, April 3, 2013

927. C Is for Cheerleader

I was invited to Tall’s school yesterday to read my new children’s book Herman the Cat Goes to Outerspace.  A few weeks ago, I had showed the book to Vice-Principal Amazing* (not her real name, but it should be), and she was very supportive and gung-ho about it.  Then she arranged for me to read it in the library to a second grade class and also to my older son’s third grade class.   

When I arrived, VP Amazing was there to greet me.  She walked me into the library and introduced me to the librarian.  We all chatted merrily for a few minutes about the book, and I might have rambled something about how I liked that the library was decorated with books and shelves. 
Next thing you know, the students filed in and I began to feel slightly nervous.  I had read the book to my younger son’s class at his school, but he is only in first grade, so it is an easier crowd to please.  These were much older students:  second graders.  I immediately felt at ease when I saw Vice-Principal Amazing walk back into the library and sit in the back row, listening and observing.    

I read the book, the kids clapped, and I answered some questions.  Then I gave one of my books as a present to a child who had the soonest upcoming birthday.  Turns out, there were two kids with that birthday, but being the hyper-Virgo that I am, I had actually brought a few extra copies just in case that might happen, so it all worked out.  The two children who “won” the books were thrilled.    
The kids left, and I sat there basking in the glow of being a real author. 

Vice-Principal Amazing, who I now noticed had her camera with her (!), took me aside and told me what a great job I did.  Then she did the most amazing thing:  she gave me a few pointers for the next group. 
“Focus on the cover art of your book, MOV, before you even start.  Get them thinking about predictions for the story based on the cover.  And you might want to tie in the ‘Learner Profile’ traits as well.”  (The Learner Profile traits are 10 qualities that the school instills in the kids, things like being a risk-taker or being open-minded.)

I nodded, pretending I knew all 10 of the Learner Profile traits, instead of just two.  Luckily, I happened to glance up and notice there was a giant poster on the wall with all the traits listed. 
“And MOV, remember, you can stretch this out.  Don’t rush.  The kids are here to see you, they are excited, and you can slow down and really take your time.”  VP Amazing was positive and encouraging, a true cheerleader.  She made me feel like I did a good job the first time, but that I could do an even better job the second time. 

And you know what?  She was right.  I followed all her tips, and the next group was better.  They loved the story, and the birthday child who won the book acted like he won the Lottery.  It made me wish I had brought 25 books to give away.      
I am so grateful to Vice-Principal Amazing.  Grateful for her awesome advice for my reading, but even more grateful that she is an everyday presence for my older son and all the other children who attend the school. 

I never use real names in my blog, but if you have a child at this school, you already know who VP Amazing is.  She is the cheerleader who makes us all feel smart, important, valued, and heard.  She makes us live up to our potential.    
The children are lucky to have here there, and so are the parents. 

**This book is illustrated by the insanely talented Haley Wolfe at Haley's Comic. 


  1. Your vice-principal sounds like a dream. Isn't it fun to read for a classroom of little kids? I would like to do that for a living. Just travel around to different schools reading and interacting with all sorts of kids.
    But now I want to know the other 8 learner profile traits.

    1. geesh, did not know there would be a quiz! the other traits are: balanced, inquirer, knowledgeable, caring, communicator, and ummmmm....... chocolate ice-cream eater.

      I might have made that last one up.

  2. Great people like that really pull the school community together. Congrats on the successful book-reading!

  3. I'm impressed that you actually thought to bring extra books to the reading! Good job.

    1. it was a last minute thing to grab extra books! sometimes I listen to that little voice in my head (and sometimes the little voice says, "Eat chocolate ice-cream").

  4. It sounds like a wonderful experience all the way around.
    I laughed out loud at how you complimented the library for its decorations of books and shelves. Hee Hee. I say stuff like that all the time:)

  5. MOV isn't your really name?!? Libraries are decorated with books and shelves?!? The space ship took off?!?

  6. Now I've got to read the story too! I homeschool, so I guess that makes me "part-time-sanity VP" I've just decided to hop on the comedy cart and follow your craziness *blog* wherever it leads! Most laughs I've had on any blog!

  7. First, congratulations on the reading! What a wonderful experience for the kids, and obviously for you. This VP sounds like a superb leader and I know you count yourself fortunate for having her in your kids' school. We should all be so lucky. Kudos all around, MOV!

  8. A few times in my life I've been blessed to have people in my life who were true coaches...the people who see the best in you and know exactly what to say to bring it out. They have been my role models. How great that you got such encouragement and a positive experience only makes you more eager to do even better the next time.

  9. Just finally got around to ordering it. My son's birthday is this weekend and it looks like it will arrive just in time for it. Looking forward to reading it to him!

  10. I love the fact that you're a Virgo! Me too! It's wonderful that you had such a great experience. You worked hard for that moment and deserved every bit of it!

  11. It's such a pleasure to have an unexpected cheerleader in our corner! VP Amazing sounds like a truly great VP. I'm glad it went well for you, I know what a tough audience grade schoolers can be!

  12. Hi, just hopped over on the A - Z Challenge, loving your blog so far and looking forward to reading more when I get back from work. Enjoy the Challenge!

  13. People who know how to support and coach are rare gems. Your kids are lucky to have VP Amazing at their school. The teachers there are probably even luckier.


When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)