I've got a little darling this year (it is first grade, most of them are pretty darling) who drove me nuts at the start of the year. She seemed snarky, if first graders can be snarky. She could push my buttons (see how it's becoming about me already).
We've all seen this happen when a student can just drive a teacher nuts. Some personalities just clash and being a teacher doesn't make one immune to this, unfortunately. Other teachers working with my class would also get highly annoyed by this little one. That was somewhat reassuring, suggesting that I was not the sole problem.
However, I'm smart enough to realize that I was at least a part of the problem. So, I decided I needed to build a better relationship with this one, and a few others while I was at it. I started inviting one child to pick a friend and eat lunch with me two or three days a week. To be honest, I find this almost painful because I highly value that time alone or to talk to other teachers, but I began with this student. It helped, but we still would butt heads a lot.
Then, by chance one day recently I came across the forms the kindergarten teachers filled out at the end of last year to help them create this year's first grade classes. These help us ensure well balanced classes: gender, ethnicity, reading ability, etc. This little one's kindergarten teacher had written "produces nice work, very sweet" about this child. I was shocked. That did not describe the student I knew (or thought I knew) at all. I went to this teacher and she was just as shocked to hear me describe the girl.
I can't say things are perfect now with this little one. But the difference is amazing. She's the same child she has always been. I just see her and respond to her differently. I'm more patient. I smile rather than frown. I gently remind rather than explode.
I am the difference. Like it or not, I have the control and power, even when I'm not aware or thinking about it.
I wish I could say I now respond to all my students in such a positive way. I can't, I'm far from perfect. I do believe I am striving for respect and kindness in all my interactions. I don't expect to succeed constantly, but I hope for continual improvement.