For an entire year, I have erroneously interpreted the meaning behind my A.P.'s Twitter handle. I was sort-of correct, but did not see what was right in front of me. Today I had one of those V-8/smack my forehead moments. It was the kind of gears-clicking-into-place moment that I know many of my students encounter as well. The tiny bump of endorphins that I felt upon my realization is one I want to capitalize on with my students. My A.P., @jetteryderdad, is indeed a dad as his handle indicates. He is a family-first man. He also shares my brother's first name, so in that familiar sequence of letters, I did not notice the variation in spelling. For this to make sense, I need to get specific. Bear with me.
Jeff's full name is spelled Jeffrey. This is the more common spelling. My brother's name is spelled Jeffery. It is a small and almost unnoticeable difference. So when I saw Jeff the A.P.'s handle, I did not notice the location of the second e/r. In my mind, I reversed them. This is important to my story because I read Jeff's handle as "Jettery"...a child's pronunciation of Jeffery. I assumed that his young son had seen the name and tried to read/pronounce it. I envisioned Jeff's son saying, "You're Jettery! Der Dad!" It would make for a cute Twitter handle story, if it were true. Which it isn't.
Embedded in Jeff's Twitter handle are his children's names. Why I never saw that before is a mystery known only to neuroscientists who study how we catalogue information in our brains. But the experience helps me to remember that not all students will understand the information I am conveying the first, second, or even tenth time. At some point in the future, a child will be sitting in another class, the cogs will slide into place, and the endorphins will kick in. "AHA! There it is! I get it now!" the student will think. I won't be there to see it, but I can be comfortable knowing that I placed the foundation for it to occur.
Everyone learns at different rates, in different ways. We are ALWAYS learning. Follow @jetteryderdad on @Twitter!