Sometimes, every once in a while, a special student comes into your life and makes you realize that God has a purpose for every single person crossing your path.
I saw a post on Facebook over the weekend that said every single person you have ever interacted with would be different without you. Think about that for a moment. It's pretty heavy.
The guy I smiled at this morning at the grocery store before work was affected by me. I may have been the only person today to smile at him (I hope I wasn't). If I had not been there in that moment, there may have been no one there to smile a hello to a fellow shopper. That's deep stuff to think about.
And then I have moments like today where it is reinforced to me why I do what I do and why every child, regardless of their ability, has a purpose for being in my room. And I don't mean that their purpose is to learn.
I have said about a billion times that last year was rough. In so many ways. I needed a change and a good year because a rough year can drain you. Do I have a perfect class? Gosh, no! Not by a long shot. They are 8 and 9 years old. They talk too much, they are loud, they forget their manners. It happens.
BUT every interaction makes a difference. It could be good or bad but it is a difference.
My class has struggled to respect my student teacher. Let's face it. I've had years to perfect my tough love approach and not everyone can operate that way. It works for me. I don't expect it to work for everyone. Today the kids went to the lab and some were very disrespectful. My student teacher took away recess and made those kids write a behavior reflection. I am all about that. Help them learn to own their choice.
One boy refused to comply and just went on a tirade about how mean her and I are, crying and stomping his feet. She pointed out, very calmly, that as upset as he feels, enough to be crying, that she has feelings too and he hurts her feelings when he is disrespectful. It was the perfect response.
He just went on and on about how his mom wants him to have mean teachers so he is stuck with us and so on. I knew he was just blowing off frustration, but at one point he said all the kids think I'm super mean. Another student who had lost his recess too (same reason) was watching us and I asked him if he thought I was mean.
He said "no, you are nice". I nearly fell over because I really expected him to say yes. So I asked him why he didn't think I was mean. He thought for a minute and said, "Well you do stuff for us and you get on us because you care about us".
Wow. It doesn't get any more powerful than that! This is a child whom I have had to get on his case daily all year. Sometimes more than once a day. He is very impulsive and doesn't always think before he acts. I get that about him and have just waited for the moment to really make my connection with him (believe it or not it is not something you can magically obtain with every child in the first couple weeks....some kids it can take half a year and some kids, despite your best efforts, you never really find a way to connect with).
My patience thus far has paid off today in spades because as we were leaving at the end of the day, he and I were at the end of the line and he said "Mrs. Wood, I am going to try my best to have a great day tomorrow". ♡
It just takes time sometimes....to make the connection with the hardest students. Sometimes it's a challenge to like these types of kids because they can be so frustrating. But then, you have your breakthrough and it is purely magical. Angels come down and sing and you know, without a doubt that you are where God wants you to be.