Five years ago (my first real week as a teacher), I noticed a kid not starting his assignment. I kept prompting him to begin, but every time I walked back by his desk, I would glance at his paper only to find little or no progress being made. I thought it was an amazing assignment, of course, so I didn't get why he wasn't diving in with the same enthusiasm as his classmates. I was actually kind of annoyed and thought he just didn't like me or didn't like my class. But something started nagging me and just would not stop. So I pulled him out into the hallway to ask what the deal was. He could not even look at me. He kept mumbling and looking at the ground. And then, finally, it hit me.
I calmed myself a bit and changed my approach. In our conversation, he admitted that my class was hard for him, and that this was his first time in a regular reading class without extra help. I felt such an automatic connection with this kid, and did the entire year. He really wanted to be in my class. He wanted prove to himself that he could do it.
After speaking with his mom about his struggles with reading and how driven he was to do well, I just knew he would be able to do it. To this day, I joke and say that he was my first son. I love that kid to pieces. His mom too!
Today, I was out shopping and I saw him walk out of a store, smiling from ear to ear. I stopped mid-sentence and ran to give him a big 'ole hug. About that time, his mom came up and we all chatted and caught up. He is doing well on the football field (always been a beast) and has even been getting letters.
But just when I thought I couldn't be more proud, she told me that he is taking HONORS ENGLISH. It was all I could do to not lose it right there.
He did it!!!!!!!!!!!
I cried when I got home.
This is why I teach.