Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This is why we teach

Some students we have really touch our hearts in unique ways. One of my most memorable students was a boy I taught about 5 years ago.

He was what you might call "spirited." In the book Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, a spirited child is said to be a child who is "more." That's exactly what this child was. He was more social, more sensitive, more enthusiastic, more intense...you get the idea. He was basically on an emotional roller coaster all day long everyday.

Over the course of the year I tried did all sorts of interventions. I established a points sheet, and we set goals/incentives. I taped a list of things to do when I feel angry to his desk. His favorite was to make a mad face. I worked with his parents and other staff to get him set up with counseling, and we got a behavior IEP in place. 

I remember telling him almost daily, "nothing you can do is going to make me stop caring about you."

When he wasn't testing boundaries or having emotional outbursts, he was an amazing leader and musician. One time I was doing a little supervision in the hall and when I walked back into the classroom he had the whole class singing, "do the Helen Keller, and talk with your hips." I told them I didn't care for that song and they needed to sing something else. I stepped back into the hall, and the next time I came back in he had the entire class singing the Wheels on the Bus.

I still remember the day I got to him. We were having our traditional winter sing-a-long. At the time, we had an amazing music teacher who played in a rock band that performed locally. His band came to lead the sing along, and they played a few extras as well. During the performance I whispered to him, "You could do that someday." It really hit home for him. I got the music teacher (who didn't work with my class) to agree to act as a mentor for him once a week, and he thought he was meeting with a rock star. It was awesome.


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