Thursday, July 21, 2011

It Takes a Village...


Hallelujah! I have survived the first week and a half of school…each year I must remind myself how much I really don’t care for the first weeks of school and those compulsory endeavors that occur: lessons in the rules and expectations of my classroom, coaching of procedures and routines as well as the necessary assessments to formulate where to go from here for each child.


As you know, I teach children in grades 3-5 who have differentiated learning needs. Each grade is unique but third grade forever proves interesting since in our school they ‘finally’ get to ascend the stairs in our building and are at this time considered a part of ‘the big kids’.

I marvel at the change in attitude a few stairs can cause but it is quite the happening. This climb necessitates the foundation in building relationships with students who once belonged to a different resource room teacher. Although I am blessed that I along with my 4th and 5th graders can carry on- building and nurturing bonds already set in motion.

Early on we read a book titled; You are Perfect Little Bird by Shelley Joy which pointed out the uniqueness of each individual. We discussed the character and emphasized his exceptional traits which led into their assignment. The children were asked to draw a picture of them then write 3-4 sentences telling why they are special and unique.

I gave ample ‘think time’ and instructed the children to start. I played soft music in the background as ten minutes proceeded while one little boy continued to sit. I approached him to ask what he was thinking. He told me he wasn’t special. He told me he couldn’t think of a thing.

I noted I immediately saw a bright smile when he walked into the room. I pointed out his liveliness and spirit although a result of his ADHD and keened in on his helpfulness to hand out papers hoping I’d given him some ideas.

He continued to sit so I suggested he begin with the setting and perhaps an idea would pop into his head.

When class was over 20 minutes later, the bustle of dismissal with a few parting instructions I noticed this young boy had yet to begin on a picture of himself and that he quickly stuffed his paper into his folder. He lagged behind and as he walked out the door said, ‘Teacher, I really don’t have anything special about me.’

I felt melancholy as I gazed upon his slow walk back to his classroom wondering how a seven year old child could think of nothing that was special about his person, his being.

Did we as educators fail this child? Did his parents feel he was not up to snuff because of his special needs?

I vowed my goal would be for him to be able to complete the same assignment at the end of the year and staunchly tell me at least a handful of positive things about himself.  The situation also brought to mind that it really DOES take a village to raise a child.

35 comments:

Old Kitty said...

OH that's so sad about this 7 year old. Seven years young and already has very low self esteem. That's terrible! :-(

I'm just so glad you are his teacher. I just know he'll blossom with your care and attention. Take care
x

Teresa aka Journaling Woman said...

Aww, what a great heart you have!

Teresa Evangeline said...

What a rewarding career, to affect positive change and to help young people learn to have a positive self-image, oh so essential and so often neglected by families and systems. He doesn't know yet how blessed he is to be in your classroom, but he will.

texwisgirl said...

thanks for sharing this with us. i hope he reaches your goal. God bless that boy...

Jeanie said...

This boy is so fortunate to have you as his teacher. I have no doubt that you will guide him to feel different about himself by the end of the year.

Rita said...

What a lovely post! I used to teach a long time ago; so I can relate to your feelings. How come you are already back at school? Over here they go back in September.
Rita

Oklahoma Granny said...

I could feel my heart breaking for this little guy. How very sad. He is blessed to have a teacher like you and I hope he'll blossom this year.

Out on the prairie said...

It is hard to break that barrier with a few children.The sad part is the resentment they can build when things don't work well for them which promotes lack of understanding and appeal with what you are doing. I think you have lots of tricks up your sleeve for this young man.

Sylvia K said...

You are most definitely the kind of teacher that I worked hard to be during my teaching days. But that was many years ago and somehow parents seemed to be so much more concerned about and involved with their children then. I recently worked with a group of pre-school children and I was amazed to see the really sad attitudes of four and five year old kids -- not to mention the "I don't want to know" attitude of so many of the parents. Your students and their parents are very fortunate to have you as a teacher! Hope you have a great weekend, Tracy!

Sylvia

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

I guess if I had been asked that question at that age... I don't know how I would have answered either.
But I can't recall ever being asked.

There's something there... I just know it. I guess it's up to you to find out, Tracy. :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Sad, isn't it? Teachers and schools do all that they can do ---but most of the problems go right back to the parents and that child's home situation...

I admire you for teaching special needs kids.. There is just so much love inside those sweeties which needs to come out---and sometimes it doesn't come out at home.

Bless you, my friend.
Hugs,
Betsy

Wanda's Wings said...

You are a blessing to those young hearts that need it the most.

Julie Harward said...

Ahhh, poor little boy, he needs you, thank goodness you are his teacher. :D

Ginny said...

This is one of the saddest things I have ever read!!! I can only guess it may be his parents, who make him feel rather worthless. Not blaming them yet though, as we don't have any facts. My heart just goes out to this little boy!

Daisy said...

A sad story. I think he's very lucky to have you as a teacher.

Arkansas Patti said...

That youngster needs you the most in that class. So glad he has a teacher that cares. I do hope you keep us informed of his progress.

Peggy K said...

Would you believe my emotions are mixed? I'm so sad for his low self-esteem right now. And so happy that he landed in the right place. During his time with you, you will encourage and provide what he needs to be able to fly!!!

Shay said...

If that's something you can give to this dear little child you will have done an amazing thing.

Bless you.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

My heart also aches for this little boy and I hope that he finds the value within himself--Something tells me that he may since he has you encouraging him!

Munir said...

Seven years of age and self esteem issues. He is lucky to have you as a teacher, who could feel for him. You are a kind person. Hopefully being taught by you will help him get his confidence back. You will have a lot of blessings from up above:)

Linda Myers said...

He's lucky to have you. What a cool thing it will be to read his end-of-year thoughts and know you made a difference!

Jules said...

Not a village, just one caring soul. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Lin said...

Poor little guy!! It's hard to see that excitement disappear from their little eyes, but I'm confident you can help him. Let's hope he gets it back, that he knows how special he is and that the world is his oyster!!

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

It sounds like you are making a huge difference in these kids lives. These books seem to be really good topics for them

KathyA said...

Teachers are noble saints!

YOU'RE BACK IN SCHOOL ALREADY????

Corine said...

That is SO SAD! I pray you will be blessed to inspire him to see the good and wonderful in himself. You are a good teacher and person.

Pat Tillett said...

Very sad and thought provoking. Life isn't perfect for all kids and that makes me sad...
I'm hoping you have some good luck with him!

Arlee Bird said...

School sure starts early any more. I remember the days when we didn't go back before Labor Day. Summer seemed so long then and compared to now I guess it was.


Lee
Tossing It Out

amy @ Life in Pink Hi-Tops said...

This made me think of Max Lucado's book, You are Special. It's a wonderful story about Punchinello, a wooden Wemmick, who thinks there is nothing special about him. Everyone says that he is worthless. In the end he finds out that Eli, his maker, thinks Punchinello is very special. I read it to my kids, yes, but sometimes it's a good message for me, too!

Arlee Bird said...

Yes it does take a village but it's nice when there are parents who keep things on track.


Lee
Tossing It Out

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Marydon said...

I think the first weeks are hard to settle back into the groove at school. I find that parents don't teach discipline like they should for children.

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Have a beautiful weekend.
Hugs,
TTFN ~
Marydon

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Corine said...

Hey - I'm starting to worry about you. :o Where have you been? I hope you are OK.
Hugs...
Corine :D

Corine said...

If you are still in hiatus with a new school... GOOD! :) I hope it is all going well. We all need to refocus our energies sometimes; it is good! ;)
love,
Corine :D