Thursday, August 21, 2008

Success! (at least a little bit)

One student in my room has been having a rough time. This kid has been trying the patience of all of us, quietly defiant, not joining the group, turned away a lot. Small things, but they add up to a lot by the end of each day. Plus, at dismissal this child has said to me every day this week, "Call my dad. Tell him what a bad day I had." My response has been the same, "I can't wait to call your dad, but I'm going to do so when I can tell him what a fabulous day you had. So I won't call today, but maybe I'll be able to call tomorrow."

This morning this child gave a thumbs down about another student's answer during our calendar time. It was the only thumbs down in the class. I figured it was just another quiet way of pushing my buttons, but I questioned the child about it. The response was genuine and thoughtful about the thinking being done. The child was completely wrong, but still I showered the praise, for having the courage to speak up, for really thinking about the question, and so on. This student was glowing. In just a bit I called this student up to do our magic number activity. Then, during math I spoke one-on-one and asked for help during calendar tomorrow. The rest of the morning was fantastic.

I had to leave at lunch for a meeting at a nearby university, but I told both the literacy coach and the special education teacher I work with about the morning so that they could continue the praise at every opportunity. When I got back the class was just wrapping up writing workshop. We keep the books they write in their writing folders each day but this child wanted to take today's home to read to mom. It was all about our calendar time this morning. I sent it home, only saying that I wanted it back tomorrow so that it could be read to me!

I told this little one that I would be calling dad to share about the fabulous day. More glowing. Then, by chance, it turns out that dad was at school at the end of the day for a meeting with a sibling's teacher. I found him talking to his child in the lobby at dismissal. I put my arm around my student and gushed about the day. Getting the chance to tell him in person with the child there was even better than a phone call. I have high hopes for tomorrow!


kirsten said...


I love that you showed him that you *do* see his power, that you believe in him. He will probably remember this for a long time, because your appreciation of him was so genuine.

teach5 said...

It's cool you actually had a chance to do the dad thing so soon. It sounds like he might have turned the corner, at least a bit...
Keep it up!

jos said...

yay, jenny!