Saying goodbye is one of the most difficult things I think we have to do in life. It is difficult to say goodbye to the things we cherish most. My career, and the lives I touch, has always been one of those things – it’s my passion.
Currently, I am finishing my last three days of a long-term in kindergarten. For the past few weeks I have been reminding myself that I will be moving on and their teacher will be coming back. It’s been difficult for me to think that in a few days time I will not be the one taking care of them - watching them grow.
Although, I think the most difficult day was yesterday. One of my students came to me and said today was his last day. Me, being my usual positive self, I shared how exciting moving can be, it means meeting new friends and going to a new school. By the look on his face, he wasn’t buying it. So I asked him how he felt about moving he replied with bad. I said, “Will you miss me?” He said he would. I shared with him that I would too.
However, I also loving shared that all he has to do is think of me and know that I am thinking of him too. We will never be far away…all he has to do is wish me well and know that I am doing the same to him.
Tears still well up in my eyes thinking of that conversation.
My daily goal is to talk to all of my students individually. Not to give them a direction or to help them on an assignment but to actually make some kind of meaningful conversation. Whether it is about their outfit or how they did such great thinking – something that singles them out as an individual and let them know I care. I think we forget that we are in this for more than a paycheck or data points – we are in this for the betterment of humanity. It is because of that time I spend with my kids, building relationships with them, that they trust me and try their best. And when it’s time to say goodbye, it makes it all the harder.
But if saying goodbye means I touched someone’s life, then it’s worth every emotion.
Have you ever had a student that pushes your buttons? That ignores your requests to be a listener? To be quiet when someone is talking?
That can be extremely frustrating as a teacher. In your mind, you might be thinking that they are being defiant. Or that they are a bad.
But what if it was not that at all?
The thought occurred to me one afternoon at dismissal. It is usually loud and busy at that time of day anyways. But one particular afternoon I heard crayons being pushed around in the bin. Instantly, I begin looking for the source of the sound only to meet the eyes of a blonde haired little boy smiling. As I looked into those eyes, I realized he was looking for me to look at him. To say his name - to notice him.
The next day, he and I sat down and I told him that I wanted to hear what he had to say. I wanted to get to know him. His voice did matter in our classroom – to me. During that time, I also talked about ways he could get my attention in a positive way.
After that conversation, things shifted.
When you have a student who is pushing buttons – do you look beyond the behavior and ask why? I had read many books on it, but I always felt confined to making my students behave that I could never get to the root of the behaviors.
Digging deeper, finding out the why of the behavior answers the missing questions as to what we can do to help a student. If we are only addressing the behavior at the surface, we will never find out what that student needs.
Next time a student is disruptive or has behavioral challenges, look beyond the behavior and find out what the student needs.