"What does it mean to be a literacy expert?"
To be able to move and interact in the world freely, confidently and with wonder! It means a desire to be absorbed, to be still but also to be ignited and moved to tears or incontrollable laughter. It means to be able to decipher, understand, respond, criticise, support, guide, mentor, comment. Refute and refuse. Explain and endear. Influence. Be open to continuous learning.
To be a literacy expert means to empower.
It means you love a good yarn, tell a good story or perhaps, took a while to find your story, so listening is what you do well. It means you have something to say so you open up the space for others to have their say. It means you have something to share and you want others to share as well.
Recently moved to the Territory after 38 years in New South Wales, many people have asked me why? They asked me the same question when I moved from Sydney to Wilcannia.
Her name was Jill Berrigan. She was my Year 2 teacher and had worked for the Broken Hill School of the Air. She used to tell us stories of her students, describing the crackling radio and the red dirt. She painted pictures through her stories of her students walking miles from their homesteads to the letterbox to receive their work books. She endeared in me a love of the red dirt, the country and outback Australia. Her openness to share her story, 38 years later, still influences my life.
It means, for me, that the literacy experts throughout my life, have helped me tell my story, so I could then help others find theirs.