"Yeah. Honestly."

Last year, one of my best students was Miss Enthusiasm. She's a brilliant writer and was always super engaged and super awesome in my class. Now, this was true in MY class - not every class. For some reason, she connected with me in a way that she didn't connect with all of her teachers, and that was reflected in her classroom performance.

This year, she and I have stayed pretty close, and have recently gotten closer. She's started volunteering to help me in my room on Tuesdays after school (she was the other kid there during Tuesday's awkwardness) and she sort of does some work and we chat and she gets some attention that she clearly needs.

A few days ago, she asked if she could become my student assistant; I had one, actually a friend of Miss Enthusiasm's, as a mentoring thing, but she's probably getting expelled (another post - I'm not ready to write that one yet). So I could use a new one, and I think it might be useful for Miss Enthusiasm. Like I said, she was a rock star for me, but that's not true of every class, and since she respects and admires me, she doesn't like it when I'm disappointed in her behavior.

Anyway, today after school we went to talk to her counselor about it. I'd already broached the subject and her counselor had been reluctant since it's so close to the end of the year, which frustrated ME. We were trying again.

The counselor was in a meeting when we arrived, and while we were waiting, I asked ME, "So...why DO you want to be my student assistant anyway?" I figured the practice answering wouldn't hurt.

She thought for a moment. "Honestly?"

"Yeah, honestly."

"Because....being around you makes me feel good. You're always happy, always positive. I like that about you. Sometimes I'm having a bad day at school and I'm all upset, and then I hear your voice, and then I'm like, 'Aw, Ms. Teachin'!' And I just....feel better."

It's hard to know what to say to a compliment that big. It filled all of me, and all I could respond with was, "Well....that does seem like a good reason." I paused. "And....thanks."

She smiled.

We kept waiting.

Nothing had really changed.

But I will never forget this afternoon.


TeachEnEspanol said...

I love this story. It is so amazing when you can use your attitude to influence the climate around you! Good share! :)

teachin' said...

Thanks - I was so touched. :)

Sarah said...

Wow-- I would have been speechless! It's so nice to know that some kids really do appreciate all we do for them and return our kindness with their own!

"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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