Before I came to the district that I am currently at, I was the only teacher in my grade so it was inevitable I would have every student. After 13 years in that district, I left and moved to a district closer to home. In this district, I am one of three fifth grade teachers. Although I see every student for social studies, there is one class that is "my class." These are my homeroom students. These kids I teach ELA and social studies to. I communicate with their parents on a regular basis. I spend more time with this group, and I am connected to these students. And each year before these students become "my class," they are fourth graders.
The fourth grade classes are in the same hall as the fifth grade. I pass them multiple times a day. I see how they behave in the hallway, treat one another, and interact with their teachers. These kids don't see my observations. They are only fourth graders. To them, I am miles away.
But every so often, I feel a connection to one of those kids. I can't explain it. I might see them in the hall being talked to by their teacher or I may have a brief conversation with them, but in that short moment, there is a connection. It has only happened with three students. And all three times, those students have been placed in my classroom. And one of those three, is in my current class.
This student and I had an instant connection from day one because this student LOVES to write, and I LOVE to teach writing. But I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me. You see I have three main goals as a teacher. The first is always give 150%. I don't care what your test scores are or your grades are. As long as you give me the effort, I am happy. The second be responsible. Do what you are supposed to do because that is your job. If you have homework, do it. If you know there is no gum chewing in class, don't chew it. My third is do what you know is right. This includes sticking up for your friends and just being downright nice. There is no excuse for mean people. I don't like them. And this student struggled with two out of the three of those.
So this morning as I was going through all of my school papers, I stumbled across my students' monthly reflections. And this student, the one I felt a connection with as they were a fourth grader and who now is in my class, is really hearing me.