I stumbled upon both of these articles recently and was overwhelmed with emotion while reading them.
1. Dear Teacher
Last year, I had some difficult students, but I also had THE ONE.
The one who was placed in my room after being kicked out of another fifth grade class. the one who was known by every adult in the building and at the neighboring schools. The one who would run the streets at night with a much older crowd. The one who had picked up "street smart" coping skills to deal with a deteriorating home environment. The one who came to school for stability and to be cared for. The one who tested my patience on a daily basis. The one who I struggled to reach while still trying to teach the other twenty nine students. The one whose behavior meant the office was on call all day long. The one who had so many unfair life circumstances and didn't know how to appropriately cope with challenges. The one who so desperately wanted adult attention, but was uncomfortable when it was publicly given for a positive reason. Yup, that one.
I feel like this article was written about my one student.
I cried while reading it.
I wish I found it months ago.
It helped me shift my feelings of frustration and irritation with the one to feelings of patience and compassion. I am not the enemy and the one is lashing out because those are the social behaviors that are modeled outside of school. I am the rock, I am the lighthouse for the one. I am there to be a guiding, calming, supportive presence...even when I'm being called names. When dealing with the one, it's hard not to take things personally.
I'll be printing this article off and putting it in my binder. Not the teacher binder of lesson plans and schedules, but the secret binder. The binder with notes from parents and inspirational quotes for when nothing is going right. This has earned its place of honor in the binder of warm and fuzzy feelings, which is my best weapon against negativity.
The second reading wasn't an article, but a picture:
Succinct and powerful. Another addition to the binder.
Going into my seventh year, I've got a big job to do. I have thirty(ish?) young people to care for, to inspire, to teach, to help grow, to educate, and to love.
Good thing I know I'm not alone.