Monday, March 3, 2014

Worth it.

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.

I am fortunate to teach in a small community. Overall, I have a good idea where and how my students will end up living their life. It is amazing to see them blossom into adults. Making good choices and bad ones. Finding love, happiness, and joy in their lives.

Two years ago, I changed grade levels. In my class, I have 4th graders who used to be 1st graders with me. It is fantastic to see their growth from budding students to independent learners.

Most teachers will have that student. The one who challenges you in ways that you didn't realize you were being challenged. G is my student. As a 1st grader, he would not write. He would shut down verbally. His imagination was like no other. Then some days, he would engage and shine in areas.

He was tested and it was determined that he was highly intelligent so we began to support him with our gifted and talented teacher. The next two years were turbulent in his life and more was discovered in his social and emotional development. He was also staffed on an IEP.

When G returned to me classroom as a 4th grader, he was my first experience with a twice exceptional student. Meeting G's needs meant more than challenging him in math and helping him as a writer. It was providing a place where he felt safe. It has taken a team to help G. I have the support on the G&T teacher, SPED teacher, our counselor, a mentor from the community, his parents, and now his friends.  As his mom put in one of our mid-year check-ins, "it is so nice to have G talk about friends...that are real"! 

When I look back on my career and I think of my Minnesota students from the early 90s then my Colorado students of the past 22 years. I am surprised how many faces pop into my head.  G will always be on that list. Everyday I hope I can reach him. I hope I am providing him with the tools to be successful in life. The one thing I do know is that I did create a community where he found friends. For that fact alone, all the hard work was worth it!


  1. It is fun to have a student twice. That is one of the reasons I've always loved looping up. In your case...double the fun because of the special needs and the two year gap. It sounds like an amazing community supporting this gifted boy. xo

  2. 1st and 4th grade are a lot alike to me, many first and a transitional age. G is lucky to have you, a person that knows and cares about him at both times in his life. Small schools are the best.

  3. What a sweet story. I had a little boy last year in Kinder who was from Burma and didn't speak English and had many social, emotional, and educational hurdles to overcome! To say the least, he was time consuming, but he learned so much last year and so did I. I learned a lot about perseverance and how many unknowns genuine caring can get you through. He's a student I will never forget and I smile every time I think of him.

    1. The students with challenges make our job so incredible (especially when we are able to "break" through to them)! Do you know how he is doing in 1st grade?