(If you haven’t read my original post, That Kid, please take a moment to do so.)
A week ago the school year ended. It was a tough one for a variety of reasons. I was glad to see it end, but it also meant I would no longer have THAT KID in my class. He had been there in one way or another for the last three years. When it came time to culminate and end their sixth grade year, I cried. Not because I would miss him, although I will greatly, but because I was so proud of how far he had come.
“Charlie” ended up being an integral part of our Student Tech Squad. I relied on him for any problem the other students (and usually I) couldn’t fix. The other kids recognized his worth in more than just tech, and he became pretty popular with many of his classmates. (Not too bad for the kid that used to be labeled a bully and was everyone’s scapegoat!).
As I spoke to him and his family after the ceremony (my eyes full of the same tears I saw reflected in his mother), I was struck with the connection we had made. I reflected on our not-so-great beginnings together and it made all of us laugh. I shared how proud I was of his accomplishments and how I hoped he would continue to rely on his strengths as he moved to the middle school. His grandmother credited me as a good teacher and that was what had made a difference. I think it was more than that.
When students come into your lives (because they are never just “in your class”), we try to find a way to make connections to relate to what they are going through so that the curriculum can be made more personal and understandable. This is a lofty goal that is often difficult to achieve with every student in your class. That doesn’t mean we don’t keep trying. It’s because of these connections that the students are able to learn from us. Whether you reach one student for just one day or make a lasting one (like I believe I have with THAT KID), it’s these connections that make the difficult days or years worth it for both you and the kids.
Charlie may no longer be in my class, but he will be one I will remember always. Hopefully I have made a positive lasting impression on him as well.
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching