We didn’t see eye to eye at the beginning. He fought me. Ignored me. Didn’t want anything to do with me. He was rambunctious. Spirited. A fighter. I knew that it was going to be tough when I realized that his desk was moved alone away from all of the other kids. It’s been seven working days and the kid that I met on day one isn’t the kid that I’m seeing this week. Dr. Marzano (this is hearsay, not direct research) supports the theory that states when you have a troubled kid you have to show him you care before he wants to work for you.
The first thing that came to my head was…DUH.
In actuality, the Dr. has some really good points. For a kid like X it wasn’t that he was a bad kid or a bad apple. It wasn’t that he couldn’t comprehend what was going on. It wasn’t that he didn’t have discipline either. It was that he needed someone to believe in him. He didn’t need to get lost in the crowd.
I’ve been talking to him in the morning before school. I see him working in the gym and encourage him to work harder. He always comes to sit near me during the day. I love seeing that kid talk and smile. He’s smart—he functions on par or even above his peers. I’ve made him accountable. Ever day at the end of the day I walk into the classroom, sit with him, and make him recount the day. What happened. Where did he go. What did he like. How did the science experiment work. By teaching me he teaches himself. His work space is clean when I come in and he has his work ready and waiting for me to inspect it.
At the end of the day we walk to the bus together and he tells me all about his undefeated football team. How he loves the team. Who sucks. Who is awesome. What position he plays. What he’s going to do when sixth grade comes around. What’s the catch? The catch is I truly care. I invest in him. I want him to succeed. I don’t want to see him get lost simply because he needs more affection or attention.
I know it’s not all me. I know it’s not a fix-all. I do want to celebrate the little things. I do want to state that he, alone, has made the decision to work harder—and that in itself is a huge, huge success worth making a big deal about.