How The Flu, Nashville’s Reading Crisis, and A Single Question Ordered My Steps to 2018

Like everything else 2017 has had a hand in, this year’s flu strain showed up with a side of Satan. For nine days, I battled the worse flu of my life with rolls of tissue, too many doses of Theraflu, gallons of Hot Toddy, a rescue inhaler doubling as a crutch, and hours upon hours of Hallmark Christmas Movies and Gilmore Girls (yes, them). Oh, and hubs was sick, too. It was not a pretty scene in Hawkins house. 

For six of those days, I did not participate in social media in order to avoid triggers that could impede the healing process. The devil-flu stole my energy, so I was often too weak to sit at the computer or even pick up a book. So in the time between the stories of unrequited mistletoe love and trying to decode the dialogue between the speed-talking mom/daughter duo, I had time to think. 

My top three flu-addled thoughts:

  1. Literacy in Nashville
  2. Nashville’s Literacy Crisis
  3. Flipping the Script on Nashville’s Reading Scores

Real talk. I’m obsessed.

As I regained my strength, I was able to honor a couple of commitments on my calendar, a holiday open house and podcast interview. Even at a party replete with fancy champagne flutes and hard to pronounce hors d’oeuvres, I found a target to share Nashville’s literacy woes. The listener was in search of contacts to education organizations doing great work for kids and I was happy to oblige. But really I was just happy to take advantage of the captive audience.  I dropped a few reading statistics and watched as her eyes widened and mouth the stats in disbelief. Then she asked, “so what do you plan to do about it?

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I decided to move to another room. Didn’t she know I had been sick for an entire week and too weak to change the world? Admittedly, the question impacted me deeply.

With “the question” coloring my every thought, I wasn’t sure how to prepare for the podcast. How could I possibly continue to beat the drum of our literacy crisis without a plan to do my part? I mean, look at Jarred Amato. Here’s a teacher who saw a need in the community in which he teaches and did something about it. A year later it’s a movement. And there are hundreds of organizations in Nashville that began with a decision after recognizing a need. So, what’s up, Vesia?

I decided to diss the naysaying voices in my head and continue my mission to take in as much literacy information as possible and raise awareness.

Podcast with Linda

I’m grateful for the discussion with Education Conversations podcast host Linda Dunnavant. She is a gracious host who cares deeply about children and the Nashville education community. Whatever philosophical differences we may have had before I entered her space, disappeared under the weight of our love of kids and concern for families. Further, this experience helped me work through “the question.”

My answer: I will continue to research and raise awareness. And stay tuned…