Some of you that have been around for a few years may remember that when I moved to Florida, it was because I had been hired to teach 2nd grade. I had been so excited and did so much to prepare for teaching 2nd grade. We had an extended school year that year, so school started 5 weeks early with a week off and then restarting when the rest of the district was starting.
The extended year decision didn’t sit well with everyone, and many families used the school choice option (only extended because of the extended year) and after 5 weeks of teaching 2nd grade, my admin decided we didn’t have enough 2nd graders and I was moved down to prek.
I have never bonded with a class so quickly as I did those 2nd graders. They are now in 5th grade and still stop me in the hallway for a hug and to complain that they wanted me to stay their 2nd grade teacher and that they wished I didn’t have to leave them.
One kid in particular has enjoyed making appearances in my classroom, at my lunch table, behind me at dismissal, just about any time he could find to come see me. It tapered off a little in 4th grade, but still more often than any of the other kids. He’s always been a little impulsive and much too talkative, but he has quite a vibrant personality and great character.
Now that 5th grade has started, the 5th grade boys hormones have begun to kick in, they have realized they are the oldest students in the building, and vulgar language, disrespectful actions, and physically fighting has sprung up everywhere. Unfortunately, my friend has been one of the ring leaders and I was shocked at what I was told he had said and done.
One day during rainy dismissal, all my kids were done and I saw him sitting with his class. I asked his teacher if it was ok for me to have a little chat with him. I took him away from his peers and told him how I’ve described him over the years to other people, how proud I have always been of him, and how confident I have been that he will grow up to not only be successful but someone who is kind and a role model. I told him what I had heard about him this past month and how very sad I was to find out he was doing this. Then I told him how much I cared and how much I wanted him to still be the kid I had always known him to be. Sure, more mature and interested in other things. But always a gentleman who helped others and worked hard.
I’ve been told he’s been much better. When he started to put a toe out of line, another staff member who knows about my relationship with him (but not my recent chat), said, “You know, I can go get Ms. PPT and send her to you and I will cover her class. If you want to keep doing that, then you should be able to explain why to her.” I was told he looked shocked and was an angel for the rest of the day.
This kid was in my classroom for 5 weeks over 3 yrs ago. But I never stopped being one of his teachers or one of the people in his life who cares about him.