The lives of our children…

sols_6Last year in March as I wrote each day I remember writing a lot about a young man who has/had so many problems.   He came into my room last year as a 4th grade puzzle.   He is very small for his age,  mental developmental level about that of a 5 year old and unable to be still, motor issues with feet and hands, reading at Foutnas and Pinnell level A.

I was not sure any of us would survive teaching him.   I put a green dot pillow on the floor and he needed to be able to touch it at all time.  It at least kept him on one side of the room for a few seconds.

We all struggled, we got frustrated, we laughed and we wondered.   Our little man cried, yelled, ran around the building and learned.   This year he returned to my room.  We both moved forward to 5th grade.  He has spent most of his days in a small resource room with a smaller group of students and several adults who can really reach his academic needs more than I can in a class of 28 5th graders.

Each morning he joins my homeroom for morning circle and quick math.  He joins us as we go to specialists and for all our field trips.   He is now reading at level G.  He has moved from one to one counting to learning his early multiplication facts.   He did tell me today that “X’sing” was easy it was just making groups of numbers.

We have all come a long ways in just a short time. So when he shared with me today that he was afraid and not sure what to do we stopped to talk.   He shared that he was moving on Thursday of this week to a place in the south.  He was not sure where it was or who he would be living with.   ( I know that his Grandfather has died and they are going to live with his Grandmother to provide support.)   He only know that he is leaving to move a long ways away.

I know we have done what we can for him but my heart hurts as he leaves to navigate a new educational setting.  ( 6th grade in a new school – he looks and acts like he is a second grader.)    It took us so long to sort out his needs.  His family is not able to express his disabilities well so it was up to us to watch and learn as we went along.

We are working quickly to put information in place so the new setting will know how to help him along but still my heart hurts.   He is fearful, at some level he knows how hard it is for him to move from place to place.

The lives of our children are amazing.  They navigate walls and barriers they should not have to deal with.    I am in wonder at their resilience!

I will remember him and our struggle with the green dot and the growth we made!

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About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
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5 Responses to The lives of our children…

  1. Poor little guy-having to move is going to be so hard on him -resilient or not! How wonderful though, that you and your faculty were able to figure out how to solve this little puzzle and help him make lots of growth!

  2. Wilcox Carol says:

    Like you, I feel sad that this little guy has to move. But how blessed he was to have you, who was willing to pull out the green dot pillow, and work with him, and help him to grow and change. Hopefully, you will be able to talk with his new teacher and share some of the strategies that have worked for you. Thanks for caring so much!

  3. Nicole F. says:

    Know and feel confident that the gifts and the patience, the love he has felt from you and your co-workers will stay with him. The strategies and the learning will go with him, and yes, although it will be difficult for him, what you have taught him will help him so very much. Trust in knowing that you have given him so very much – how blessed he was to have such caring educators.

  4. Tenille says:

    When I read posts like these, I am reminded of the beauty and committment of incredible teachers from across our country who bravely march forward impacting the lives of students. I will send positive thoughts his way as he ventures into the world, and my hope is that he finds another teacher with a heart just like yours.

  5. These are the kids that especially tug at our hearts. It provides such a challenge to try to meet their needs and it is a long process to sort through. Thankfully you were able to help him get to the proper place and see him have some success. This is a hard one. He will leave knowing you cared.

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