I have now been at the same school for a year now…well…I’m half way into my second school year, so let’s make it sound better and say two years 😉
Last year, being with younger kids, as frustrating as it got, I enjoyed the hustle, pressure, and ever changing plans. I read a quote somewhere once saying something along the lines of teachers make more minute-minute decisions than brain surgeons, that’s why they’re so tired. Although I question the validity of that quote, I certainly think it can be quite accurate!
I had a few students who kept me on my toes from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM like it was their only purpose in this world, and I often wondered why…Why did I constantly keep trying to hold their attention, change their behavior, give them consequences, etc., when it didn’t matter anyways…And I’m not talking about the “I’ve given up” kind of it-didn’t-matter, I’m talking about a community environment where these values/behaviors actually didn’t matter…Students aren’t just AD/HD, there’s more to each one of them that made introducing to and being consistent with new behaviors and attitudes difficult.
It wasn’t until the last few months of the year, May-June especially, that I started to realize that things were changing. I wasn’t getting frustrated, I went home with nothing to complain about, I was singing the praises of ALL of the students in my class! Somewhere along the line, I had gotten something through to them.
And they got through to me, but I was so unaware of it until this year.
I taught a student last year Wendy, who lived with a prestigious family within the school community. Because of this, she got that ‘special treatment’ that, as teachers, we tend to dislike. Honestly. I was always wary about how I spoke to her, my tone of voice, what kind of consequence she had, how children spoke to her…She was kind of a…brat…I hate saying that.
This year, although I’m in a new class, at the other end of the hall, she makes sure to run to me with open arms and a hug, every day.
I found out that she now lives with another family member, more people in the house, she doesn’t get all of the perks she used to, she isn’t treated as importantly as she once was, etc. On one hand, the one which disliked her attitude, I was thinking that’s alright, she can do with a bit of reality…On the other, she’s only been taken care of by —, she doesn’t know anything else, she’s no longer important at all. It was hard for me to come to terms with both of my thoughts for this girl.
It was around the beginning of October, I was deep amidst the stampede of students rushing for the bus, when I heard my name in a high pitched voice. “Miss! Do you have time to listen to me for a minute?” It was Wendy. “Sure! What’s up kiddo?” I replied. “Miss I wrote you a song and I want to sing it to you!” Whhaatttt! I felt giddy! She belted it out, reading it from her paper, not a care to who was running past us or listening in. She gave me the written copy to keep.
In her words:
“Miss —- you are so bitiful (beautiful)
Miss —- you are the beast (best)
Miss —- I love you too (to)
the sun and back
Miss —- you are like
a dimin (diamond)
a dimin in the sky (diamond)
Miss —- you are there
for me and I am there for you
Miss —- I know you love me more
but I love you the most”
I teared up, asked her to sing it one more time so I could record it, and she did. I gave her a big hug, thanked her, and walked with her to her bus. That little song was cute, of course, but it meant so much more to her. I’ve watched her throughout this year, and as much as we bickered when I was her teacher, she doesn’t seem to hit it off with many others. I was honored at the thought that while she was in her own class, with her new teacher, she was thinking of me (yes yes, when she should have been working 😉 ). If she is the only student that I reached during my time here, I’ll take with pride!
Sometimes, the smallest, cheesiest things are the moments we take with us. To this 9 year old girl, I mattered. For however short or long of a time, I was important to her. And people, if that doesn’t warm your heart just a tad, I don’t know what will.
I might not always feel like it, but I matter. We matter. We are all important.