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Monday, March 28, 2011

Highs and Lows in One Day

Last week one of my students from last year was pulled out of school in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday.  This was his last day his teacher was informed.  He's leaving. . .NOW.  He was one of those kids who needed a lot of extra attention.  Extra listening.  Extra hugs.  Extra love.  I poured it all over him.  It made a difference.  It took several months but I cracked through his shell.  By the last day of school I had shattered that shell.  This year his new room was right across the hall.  I kept my eye on him. I still gave him plenty of hugs and always wanted to listen. 

The fact that he was leaving at all is very difficult for so many reasons.  But to be pulle out mid day without any warning is cruel.  It was sad.  I was so choked up I could only whisper the few things I wanted to say.  I hugged and hugged him.  I cried at my desk thinking about his starting all over. 

I had a headache it was so emotional.  He left at 1:15.

Everyday at the end of the day I say good bye to each student as they leave.  Sometimes they hug me sometimes they just say good bye.  When I high fived the last one I turned to go back in the room and there stood one of my all time favorite students and his mom. 

This student joined my class after just arriving to the Us from Mexico.  Nobody in his family spoke any english.  They were all nervous.  I was nervous too.  How am I supposed to teach a student I can't even speak too?  He cried often saying his head hurt.  He went home after just half a day - day after day for about three weeks.  I researched different things to do to be able to teach him well.  He was smart.  Math was no problem.  Numbers are numbers.  By June he made many friends, spoke pretty well, was beginning to read and write in english and was a top student in math. His parents learned english really well from watching closed caption every night after the kids went to bed. 

On the last day of school, June 8, 2007 he gave me a letter. It said is titled: Your Smile

Your smile made all the difference.  There I was sitting in the back of the room a little shy and not knowing what to expect hoping to make new friends and to get through that first day of school without goofing up somehow.  And then you noticed me.  And you smiled.  You even knew my name.  Tha'ts when I said to myself this class is going to be fun.  And sure enough it was.  Not only that, I learned a lot.  One thing I learned is that there are teachers who really do love and care about their students. Even the shy ones who sit near the back. Love, B-----

Our principal asked him to read it aloud at the 5th grade graduation that day.  I thought, "Are you crazy?  This poor kid's going to have a break down!"  Not only did he get right up ther,e he stood tall and read every word and I video taped the whole thing, watching through many many falling tears.

This letter is laminated and hangs behind my desk.  A couple weeks ago it fell down.  I reread it and hung it back up and wrote him a note.  I hope he's doing well.  I think of you often.  Tell your family I say hello was basically it.  No biggie.

So they came up to school to visit me.  The mom and I hugged and she said in my ear, "You'll never know how much you mean to our family."  It was one of those moments that make this the best "job" ever. 

It was a day of highs and lows.  Maybe one day the other boy will come back to visit too.

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