book inc  –  journal  –  A Lesson from My Little People

A Lesson from My Little People

By Renee Walsh

June 20, 2022

As an elementary school teacher, I often read and discuss stories with my students. Recently, we read Giraffes Can’t Dance, a tale about a giraffe who believes he can’t dance because the other animals tell him he can’t. During our discussion, a student said, “Sometimes I feel like the giraffe … like I can’t read or write that well.”

“Really?” I questioned, surprised at the student’s response. “Does anyone else ever feel like that … like maybe you’re not really that good at something?”

I looked around the room. Slowly their little hands popped up, one by one. As we dove into the discussion, the students seemed relieved they weren’t alone in their feelings. Some students even began to encourage each other saying, “Really, but you are such a good reader.”

This lesson made me think of myself as a writer and my own writing community; how we all feel the same self-doubt that gets in our way on our writing journeys. It reminded me of how critical our support is to each other’s success.

At the end of the story, a cricket encourages the giraffe that he really can dance after all. All he needed was to hear the right kind of music; to get a little boost, and sure enough, he could do it. My students made the connection. The animals are just like us. We can all help each other in reaching our goals. I just love it when I learn a lesson from my little people.

Renee Walsh previously wrote for a lifestyle public relations house in New York City and currently teaches reading and writing workshops to elementary-