Enjoying little rewards!

sols_6Today I just sat after school enjoying the little rewards of teaching.   We are four weeks from the end.  I still have many students that seem to not understand school and what it means to learn.    Many days are frustrating and hard but I knew this is what my year would be like.  I went into this teaching positon in a high poverty school with eyes wide open.

I have learned that you need to look for the little things not the big changes.   Early in the year I was writing lists each night of 10 good things just to keep me moving forward.  Some nights I could only get to two.   (Scary)

Now eight months later I can fill pages of good things that happen ( I can also fill pages of not so good things but we are going to forget about them tonight.)   Tonight is about a student who took me by surprise this week.  He and I have struggled all year.  He has been suspended more times than I want to count.  He has fought everyone one in my homeroom – verbally if not physically.  He is smart but mid winter decided to throw the MAP test in reading to see what that would be like.   He discovered he did not like the color red in his file.  Neither did his mother.    I could go on but that is not the point.

We switched his classes so he is with me only in the afternoon when I have my fourth grade literacy group.  He works independently at a desk connected to mine.  I am constantly handing him work or books to keep him doing something while I teach the fourth graders.   Clearly not the best situation for either of us.

BUT – today at a quiet moment he ask – “so where are you in reading Zoom?  I just couldn’t put it down so I read to chapter 12 – sorry about that! Can you catch up to me tonight?”    I sat there with my mouth open – what he is talking to me, what he is reading the book I gave him!

Oh it gets better! –  He finished all the work I gave him and it looked good, he helped several fourth graders as they learn to fold their Star books and he cleaned up the room while waiting for the fifth graders to come back from math.

I am excited but playing it cool since I don’t what to lose this moment of amazement.   The class lines up to go home and he walks out with us ( first time all year -I did not have to chase him or get after him).   As he and I walk down the sidewalk to the bus I tell him I will try to get to chapter 12 tonight but I am reading several books.  He turned and said – “I know but so am I.  I am reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Zoom,  The Underneath and one called Pastor.  I will bring that one in for you to see – I don’t think you have read that one yet.”  He smiles and walks off to his bus.

He had stopped me in my tracks.  I just stood there and watched him walk quietly to his bus.   Not sure what happened but I will take every glorious minute of it.  It is the little things or in this case the not so little things that keep me going as a teacher in a high poverty school!

Got to love it when a student is reading!


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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2 Responses to Enjoying little rewards!

  1. dmurphy2013 says:

    That’s amazing! He’s a secret reader!! You’ve obviously reached him in some way, even though you didn’t know it! Not a small thing at all….

  2. newtreemom says:

    WOW! Some truly great moments!

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