It’s no secret that some kids are easier to win over than others. Some love you from Day 1…maybe because you teach their favorite subject, or because you had their sibling in class, or because you have curly hair…lord only knows. But they like and respect you right away, and God bless them for that.
And then there are the others. The ones who seem to look for reasons to dislike you instead of liking you. The ones who are mad about everything, sometimes for good reason, sometimes for no good reason.
That was one of my kids this year. He had a bit of a reputation, to say the least.
This child stated attending my class in December, so I only had a short amount of time to win him over before I went on maternity leave two months later. I could tell he was making strides before I left. Once I was gone, my co-teacher would keep me updated: he would have his good days and also his ugly days. However…he started apologizing for his ugly days.
When I came back from leave, I felt like this kid was finally in a better place. In fact, he was one of the kids that doted on Jonas the most the day he came to visit.
Today, he opened his arms wide, as I told him how great he did this semester. “Thank you, Mrs. Peterson. You are one badass teacher.”
I was too shocked about the hug and the compliment to even correct his language.
We did it!
We all have our ugly days…but I think one of our biggest jobs as teachers is to make those days fewer and farther between. The subject matter is important, yes; but graduating kids who are kind, respectful, and empathic is even more important.