I experienced two of my favorite moments this last week in my career so far. These two moments were with students that I didn't have that high hopes for at the beginning of the year.
#1- This young man came into my classroom quiet, slouching in his seat. He didn't participate, in fact I barely knew what his voice sounded like. He did most of his work, and seem to gather most information that we talked about in class. He however didn't collect his missing work or seem to worry about his grade in class. He seemed like someone who didn't know his own potential. Perhaps the reason I didn't have hopes for him, was because I didn't look hard enough. However, recently when we were checking through his grades for all his classes, he seemed surprised at the lack of low grades. He said, "Really?" I nodded and a huge grin spread across his face. I also asked him about his reading assessment score and he said that he got a higher score this year.
I told him I was proud of him and as he walked away, I could see that he walked a little taller. I won't forget that grin though.
#2- He was bouncing off the walls when he first entered my classroom. He had a question for everything. To get him to sit down was like torture for him. He spent half the class walking around the classroom for something. He didn't have the patience for reading anything longer that a sentence. (Perhaps I am exaggerating, but it was pretty tough to have him in class.) Slowly, we got used to each other. I love this kid because he is a good natured and happy kid. He always has a smile on his face and is very honest about the fact that he can't stand reading, he likes picture books the best. We took the state assessments and it was a long 3 days for him. He took 2 days just to take 1 part. He took another 2 days to take the others.
However, when I told him his score, he told me that he had jumped 20 points and met standard this time! I was ecstatic. I told him that I have never been prouder. Not only for meeting standard for doing something that was hard, and working at it. To see the look on his face was so encouraging. I have notice a change in him since sharing his score with him. Confidence makes a difference!
Those are the moments that I teach for. When kids start believing in themselves and seeing success as possible. I have plenty more, but i share these two because I don't want to forget them either.