Describe a child you impacted this year

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Rockguykev, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Time for some positivity on AtoZ!

    Despite nearly driving me nuts I had one girl in particular whose life I impacted perhaps more than I ever have before. She got in trouble early in the year. It wasn't so much a school issue as a social/parent issue. It was a big issue, like about as big a middle schooler should ever encounter big.

    Her parents wanted her out of school. She didn't. Our compromise was that she'd spend lunches and passing periods with me. This led to tons of time to talk about life. We'd make progress, she'd mess up, we'd talk it out, she'd mess up, etc. This went on literally all year. By the last month one final (and even bigger mistake) left me ready to quit on her entirely. How could a child whom I'd spend so much time on blow it so badly? AGAIN?

    I wrote up the papers to have her removed from my classes. Mom signed off, counselors signed off. She begged to stay. I said no.

    Then a weekend passed.

    On Monday I told her the only way she could come back is if she read and recited an apology to her classmates. I'd read about this happening in a charter school described in Tony Wagner's The Global Achievement Gap. She said she'd do it. All week she was noticeably (and rightfully) stressed. When the day came I told her she could wait. She said "No, I'm doing this."

    And she did.

    Wow, did she ever.

    By the end she was in tears, so was I and half the class. They all came up and hugged her one by one. We talked about the importance of caring for each other and not being afraid to tell a friend when they are doing something wrong.

    I've never seen a change in a person like I saw in her after that. Her mom, who didn't even know she had done it, called me and noted how differently she was acting at home. She was finally happy again. She saw her biggest challenge and not only met it but crushed it. The dramas of school were nothing compared to what she chose to go through.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Thanks for this thread, rock!
    I had a child, M, who has been a behavior problem since K...he's loud, unorganized, attention seeking...but in him was a bright boy with a good heart. I worked on positive behavior management and learning to self monitor with him. I had meetings with his parents....dad had thought M wasn't bright, wasn't trying, and would sometimes physically punish him. (dad said its part of their culture)...by getting the parents on board with daily communication and positive reinforcement,not only did my student turn around but so did his family dynamics.

    :cool:
     
  4. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Great idea rockguykev!

    I had a student, E, who had a really rough time at home and in school. He never applied himself and his behavior was becoming atrocious. So I made a special pencil box for his house with pictures of myself, a security guard who worked as his mentor, the counselor, and his reading teacher. We worked out an incentive program for god behavior and completing homework. By the end of the year he was doing better in school academically and behaviorally. And the family has undergone some changes because of the year but hopefully for the better. :)
     
  5. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Jun 27, 2013

    ^^ impressed and grateful for you three making a difference ^^
     
  6. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I don't know how much long term positive impact I made on a kid in my room last year, but he is one I'll always worry about.

    He was taken away from his mom three times (albeit short periods) while she was in jail or rehab. He withdrew and entered my school four times this year.

    When he was at two other schools, he assaulted his teachers and one even had to go to the ER. His social worker said he begged to come back to my class.

    He had a four inch thick file, and the three or so months he was with me, he got lots of services so I don't think he was neglected or slipped through the cracks while he was here, but I worry about him.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I for one am in tears. Good tears, from the first three posts.
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I don´t know that I impacted any particular student, but I can say they impacted me. One of the things I love about teaching the younger ones is all the love they give. They love you and accept you, no matter what. They were my refuge and joy everyday. One little boy in particular this past year would seek me out during recess and just want to talk and talk about everything and anything. Something happened one day and he was the only one who asked me if I was okay. His heart was and is so genuine and sincere. Those little kiddos really bring so much light into my world.
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I hope I helped to create long-term change for one child. One of my students this past year, a 6-year old girl I'll call S, had some pretty serious problems. Last year was her first at our school (yes, I taught 1st, but most of my students begin attending our school in pre-K), and on day 1, mom pulled me aside to inform me that 2 years prior (to August 2012), when she was 4, S was raped by a grown man, and that the trial had just concluded in July. The $(%^(, aka rapist, was in jail, and S had received "counseling and help from the doctor," but they weren't sure how effective it would be since she was only 4 at the time of the assault.

    S is a tiny, sweet, bright little girl. She is bouncy and loves to talk. She also suffers from recurrent yeast infections and bladder leakage, both remnants of her ordeal. Mom works 3 jobs (no dad at home), so older sister (middle school) has to do the laundry (not always well). Many, many days, S smelled, often to the point of making eyes water. I and another teacher at our school purchased clothing for her (including underwear), and our wonderful custodian would launder her clothing during the school day, so she could take that home, along with the new clothing on her back. In April, S began wearing what were obviously a grown-up's sneakers. She wore them for 2 weeks, until I purchased 2 pairs of shoes for her (one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals).

    Beyond the purchases, I ran interference for this child with another teacher, who would make horrible comments OUT LOUD IN FRONT of this child ("She smells!" "She needs a bath!""Oooh, she makes my eyes water!"). I finally pulled her outside and told her the situation (I was worried about privacy issues), and she finally shut up. Grrrr.

    I also spent all year working with all of my students on caring for and accepting each other, and that we all have problems or faults. One day, when S wasn't present, one of my students said "S doesn't have any friends - they don't like her because she smells." I wanted to cry. I sat my kiddos on the carpet, and we began to talk. I told them that S had a physical problem, and that she couldn't control it. Did that make her a bad person? No. Did she do mean things to other people? No. (This was all in the course of conversation.) I told the kids that I had been teased unmercifully as a child, and even beaten up daily at some schools I attended, and how it made me feel. Then they each piped up with something about themselves that they COULD be made fun of for. After that, we made a pact that NO ONE - not even people from other classes - would make fun of or tease anyone that we know. It's not kind, and we should take up for people we care about.

    Were they perfect? No. Did S have a good year? She seemed to! She smiled most of the time, and ended the year as an honor student! I truly pray that these were true lessons learned, and not just rules abided by, if that makes sense.
     
  10. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jun 27, 2013

    pwhatley: My heart is breaking for that little girl. What a wonderful blessing you obviously were in her life. I am so happy that she had you. How wonderful of you to sit down with your kids and have that discussion. It sounds like your little angel had a much better year because of it. I hope her teacher next year is just as much of a blessing.
     
  11. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I have a difficult student, T. He has had a negative history with school...to the point where they warned me about him in my job interview. :whistle: Burdened by a long list of acronyms (BD/ED/LD/ADHD), T had been in self-contained Special Ed since first grade.

    I am really proud to say that he has made significant social and academic improvements. He began the year with angry violent outbursts and with consistent coaching began to recognize his anger and deal with it appropriately. I worked with him one on one before school and during recess and he made enough gains to push out to Gen Ed Reading. Next year, he is trying out Gen Ed Science.

    We got his LD label dropped entirely! His MAP gains were +26 in Reading and +47 in Math. I'm so pleased in his confidence growth. I knew he could do so much better. He was just waiting for someone to convince him. ;) He used to hide in my room all the time and now he plays soccer with the other kids. He's had such improved interactions with Gen Ed that he thinks he might have even found himself a girlfriend. :lol:

    Still tons of room for growth, but a success nonetheless. :thumb:
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I know both (thank God ours is a small school, lol!) of the 2nd grade teachers, and as long as she attends our school, they are prepared! I was uncomfortable writing the post, because I hate to "toot my own horn" in any way. That being said, as a former transient and fat kid (still fluffy by the way), I experienced the worst that other kids can throw at someone, and I just cannot and will not allow it anywhere I can prevent it!
     
  13. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I had a little girl one year who was the most stubborn child I have ever met. When she got mad, she wouldn't budge-not even to go to lunch! She would throw things, pull things down off the wall. The first week I was pulling my hair out and went to talk to her previous teacher. Well, there was a backstory (I'm not sure why she didn't volunteer this info from the beginning) that made me understand where it was all coming from.

    I began to look for cues to her behavior and worked very hard to prevent her from getting to that point. She loves praise and would do many things if I asked her nicely and then complimented her for it. Others in the building really didn't understand her. Once I told her to get in line and she didn't and I just let it go. Well, a colleague came up and starting yelling at her. That was it-she went into a full-blown tantrum. I was actually marked down on my evaluation for not giving her a color change because she ignored a request from me to go to her seat. I explained that color changes just don't work with her *sigh* that I chose to ignore the little things because they inevitably would turn into big things.

    She taught me a lot. It made me remember we have to take the time to really get to know them and be proactive more than we are reactive when it comes to behavior issues as much as possible. One of my admins commented on how much happier she looked this year-I will definitely pass my secrets of success onto next year's teacher. Fingers crossed that she will continue to grow.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jun 27, 2013

    This is a wonderful idea for a thread. After not being on all day today, I was become a bit (okay, more than a bit) discouraged as I was catching up. I seriously wondered if taking another break was in order; a ray of sunshine was needed! I do have a few stories to share, but am absolutely too exhausted to do it now; I come back to this thread in the morning.
     
  15. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    Jun 27, 2013

    During my LTS assignment where I would be finishing out the school year and be in charge of final grades, I had one student who had mild/moderate Autism and was nearly failing all of his classes due to stress/social anxiety. His RSP teacher asked me to work with him to see if I could at least get him up to a D-. I worked with him every day, always encouraging him, telling him to turn in work from the beginning of the semester and that he'd get credit for it.

    Within 3 weeks, I had him up to an A+ and encouraged him to do what he could in his other classes. He ended up passing ALL of them. He wrote me a thank you letter telling me how lucky all students would be to have me as their teacher and that he'd never forget me.
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Oh, golly, hb, that's wonderful!
     
  17. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Inspiring posts here, for sure...and heartbreaking as well, some of them:(
     
  18. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I had a student who was devastatingly low in all areas. She was a non-reader when she entered my classroom--still struggling to master letter/sound correspondence. She was in my "Intensive" Tier III intervention group and started making good progress right away. She really had a ton of holes in her education (lots of missed days in kinder and 1st grade, changed schools 2-3 times, not-so-ideal home life, etc).

    One day (I think it was in January), we were reading one of our decodable books during RtI and her eyes lit up. She was smiling pretty huge, too. I said, "What's making you smile so much, _______?" She said (very innocently...almost in a state of amazement), "I'm a reader now! Listen to me read this!" It was truly as though the little lightbulb in her head went on and she realized she had all the tools for success.

    Thinking about the way she said those two short sentences still chokes me up!
     
  19. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jun 27, 2013

    I love it when that happens, youngteacherguy!
     
  20. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jun 27, 2013

    One of the kids I taught this year was P, one of the gifted kids. (And he fit every cliche of a gifted kid, quirky, ADHDDDDDDDDD, social issues, non-athletic....and so on.) When we were learning to use GPS units I shared my experiences with geocaching with them. P was hooked. He went home and told his parents all about it, he was so excited. Turns out his dad has the same GPS unit I used and P was able to show him how to do use it. I knew, before school was out that they were geocaching. A couple of weeks ago I ran into his mom and she told me that they had gone on vacation to Missouri and P had researched the site and found several geocaches for them to look for. He planned their trip around them. :) She told me that he had printed out pictures of the finds to show me, so I will have to pretend I don't know about them. :) His mom went on to thank me for helping him find something that gets him active, gets him doing things with the family, and that gets him out of the house. I felt great after talking to her.
     
  21. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Your story made me smile and tear up. I know you felt great when you got to see that!


     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jun 27, 2013

    Although I have other stories, the one that has been on my mind lately was actually a college student that I tutored a grand total of two times. I was approached by the tutoring department and asked to tutor this man. It was his FOURTH try at this remedial English course. I was fairly new to teaching at the time and couldn't help but doubt I could help much if he had tutors in the past and was still failing. I took the job, nonetheless. It didn't take long for me to realize this man knew the material brilliantly. I was a little stunned and was trying to make sense of it. So I put him through different scenarios and just observed. I began to form some suspicions. I started asking questions and my suspicions were confirmed. He had an undisclosed disability and did not know that you could report that to the college and receive accommodations. He didn't need modifications. He needed relatively simple accommodations. Not only did he pass his course, he made high marks and without additional tutoring! I have no doubt that the grade reflected his mastery of the subject.
     
  23. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    (from the PI BLOG)
    Last October, I had just begun tutoring my two lowest performing students after school when another low performer came up to me on his own and said that he thought he might be an upside-down reader, too. After Desmond demonstrated his PI talents to me, I called his parents with the good news that he was not "at risk" (as all the previous standardized testing had indicated).

    In fact, he was above level and likely one of the brightest students in my class. They came in for a meeting with me, and after learning about my work with Print Inversion, and seeing their son read and write with amazing ease, gave me written permission to video tape him.

    Here are the videos of a boy who, without this simple accommodation, would most certainly have been heading for a life of academic failure.

    Video #1 - Desmond taking his Spelling Test PI

    Video #2 - Desmond reading 1st grade through 5th grade words in isolation

    Video #3 - Desmond reading Charlotte's Web (grade level 4.5)
     
  24. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Jun 29, 2013

    Teaching archery this year I had two girls win my tournament.
    That was sort of a big deal in that it hasnt happened before.
    They were excited and I always like to prove to my fellas that girls can do anything boys can do. What is the old saying? Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards.
     
  25. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I had a student in my class the year before who was really quiet. She didn't really do anything outside of school because of her low self confidence. The next year I moved into the music position. The same student decided that she could try out for choir (since she knew me and felt comfortable with me). She gained so much confidence this past year! It was great to see how music can draw some kids out of their shell.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jun 29, 2013

    And in high heels!:D
     
  27. SunnyTB

    SunnyTB Rookie

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    Jun 29, 2013

    I absolutely adore this thread.

    These are the things I look forward to the most when I imagine myself as a teacher. Watching the kids develop and just being able to say, "They did it!"
     
  28. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I love the stories in this thread.

    It does kind of make me sad though, because I'm not sure I have one of those stories this past year. It wasn't the best of years healthwise, and I felt like I was all over the place because of my teaching position, and not with one class long enough to really get close enough to them to feel like I made enough of a difference with them.
     
  29. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    Jun 30, 2013

    Pwhatley- Wow! What a wonderful story. I'm glad that little girl had you!
     

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