The transition from kindergarten to Grade 1 was traumatic. I was a popular child in kindergarten with both teachers and students but that all changed. Unlike my sister, whom the teacher had previously taught, I was an inquisitive extrovert, and we did not connect. I recall her using a metre-long ruler to assist my exit from the family car. I remember I often cried so hard that I threw up. I think back to the doctor's visit for my hair loss, which resulted in an 'unloved' short haircut. I recollect hearing my parents talk about how the school nurse recommended glasses. I thought, short hair and glasses and remember, this was long before Harry Potter made glasses cool. I'd hoped the need for glasses would explain why I was a ‘poor’ reader. And yet, I was the clever child who worked out where to position myself in the circle to read the least number of words aloud. Speaking and reading in front of a large group of people had always been a source of anxiety for me. At times, the memories of my five-year-old self-return, along with the strongly associated emotions. So, when asked who influenced me to become a teacher, I responded that it was my Grade 1 teacher but not for the typical reason.
Journeying forward to my final supervised practicum in Seattle, Washington, it was 2005. One of the first external students from the University of New England (Australia), I completed three practicums at various schools. The final supervisor had taught my son, but I didn’t know him well. What made this supervisor different was the time he spent getting to know me. When asked to read to the students, he noticed I was anxious. He made the effort and took the time to learn about me. His curiosity was reflected in his questions and from our conversations, he understood me better. With his support, in those four weeks, I transitioned from being an awkward anxious student teacher to a teacher who relished reading aloud to the students.