One thing that is hard about where I teach is we have a very transient population of students. It is not uncommon to have students up and move at the end of the month when rent is due, and have new students trickling in. Some years, my classroom has been a bit like a revolving door.
This year though, my kiddos have been pretty consistent. Don’t read that as, “we come every day” because I have several students with over 20 absences and even more tardies, but at least they are still in my class.
I had a student just unexpectedly move.
I should be used to this.
I should know that this happens more often than I’d like.
But it still breaks my heart a little.
You see, this kiddo was the bane of my existence for the past 7 months…when he actually showed up to school anyways…
He spent the first three months of school arriving an hour late, then refusing to come into the classroom, then ripping up any work I tried to get him to do. While I was teaching he would spend his time rolling around in my doorway hollering about going home. Then he would get picked up an hour before the end of the day and we’d start over a couple days later when he came back to school.
(No. This child was not the biggest behavior issue in my class this year…)
I love this kid.
He tried to be unlovable. He told me he didn’t like me or school. At least once a day. He said “no” to everything I said to him. He shouted, he threw things, he silently cried his way through the day.
But I kept on loving him.
Every morning he scowled as he entered the classroom. And every morning we cheered at his arrival, smiled, and greeted him with excitement.
By mid-winter, he still came to school super crabby, saying he hated this school; but by afternoon he was begging to stay at school. He started calling me, “Mom”.
He made me a birthday card and said in it that he thinks I’m funny. Which was awesome, since he had barely ever smiled in my direction. I knew deep down inside he liked me :)
He was starting to learn to ask for help when he needed it, instead of balling up his paper and having a tantrum.
He was starting to participate in games instead of quietly glaring at me and saying no when a classmate tried to throw a ball to him.
He went to a classmate’s birthday party and was making friends.
We saw more smiles and less scowls.
He didn’t talk about hating himself anymore.
Then yesterday I got a note from the office to turn in his cumulative folder because he would no longer be attending our school.
No warning. No goodbyes.
My heart breaks a little. I hope that he doesn’t start back at square one at his new school. It is May. He doesn’t have 7 months to adjust again. And I hope he remembers his teachers who care about him regardless of his behavior or his response. We just care. I hope we made a difference in his life.
Goodbye, kiddo! Our days are easier, but we’d rather have you in them.