It’s hard to believe that we just began our first full week of May.
There are five weeks of school left.
This is probably my favorite time of the school year. With the state reading exam behind me, I am able to relax. It’s always my goal to help my students stay calm because testing really isn’t over for them with End of Course (EOCs) exams still infringing on their fun.
Students get to see a different side of me though.
Yes, there’s still learning going on, but the pressure is off.
This is the time of the year when I, along with my students, start getting sentimental.
It’s the time when the relationships I’ve carefully cultivated start producing an abundance of fruit.
One such relationship is the one I have with J.
Oh word, guys, but this girl’s story would break your heart a hundred times over.
She’s tough, and she has reason to be.
She has a rough exterior…a wall built up that has been quite difficult to break through.
Consistency has been key.
We fought, and still sometimes argue, from the first of week of school.
She didn’t like my rules; I didn’t like that she constantly pushed the limits.
I kept her in check; she helped me hone the art of backing off.
Over the course of the past nine months, we have developed a mutual respect for one another. She curses, I call out, “Language,” and she apologizes.
She starts texting, I call out, “Phone,” and she says, “Yes, ma’am.”
She tells me she’s having a sh***y day, I say, “Language,” and then I step away, giving her space.
I’ve often tried to help with particular needs during the year, but she’s been fiercely independent.
She’s finally begun accepting assistance.
She comes to me, now, at the beginning of the day.
I’m simply thrilled to see her at school.
On Friday, we had a quick conversation. As she headed out the door to go to her first class, she turned and said, “I love you, Mrs. Auburnchick,” and then she hugged me.
I told her I loved her too, hugged her, and sent her on her way.
What she didn’t see was the flood of tears that descended when I walked back to my desk.
She didn’t see them this morning when, after stopping by on her way to first period, she told me, again, that she loved me.
This girl doesn’t love many people.
She can’t afford to let anyone that close; she’s been very disappointed by people in her life.
Twice, now, she has reached out to me.
I don’t know how many of my reading lessons she’ll remember in a year or two.
I doubt she’ll remember the grades she earned in my class.
What I think she’ll remember is that 1) I always made books available to her (she’s an avid reader), 2) I pushed her to do better than what she felt like doing (“You always do the most, Mrs. Auburnchick,” she’s fond of saying.), and 3) I never stopped trying to reach her.
I never gave up…when so many in her life have.
I doubt she’ll know how much her words mean to me…the fact that she didn’t hold my own bad teacher moments against me…battles ill-chosen sometimes.
I didn’t give up.
She loves me.
My year is made.