Today was a rough day at work. My class was extra chatty and my voice faded throughout the day. It was picture day, which takes forever and is arguably the most annoying thing ever. But yesterday...yesterday reminded me why I love my job so much. And not the pajama day reasons, but the real reasons I went into this field.
During a break from work on Thursday, I covered another teacher's class while she was in a meeting. One of her students is a boy I taught last year, in first grade. A was a mystery. English was not his first language and he seldom answered questions. He was always able to follow directions, though--he was understanding what I was saying to some degree. Super shy, when he spoke it was one or two words at a time. His writing was the biggest puzzle to me...strings of correctly spelled, nicely formed words...in no particular order and with no apparent meaning. Just words. We had meetings, observed him, tried everything we could to help A. It was so frustrating to see this little guy and not know what to do. It was like he couldn't get his thoughts out...I knew he could be doing so much better if we could help him with whatever barrier was in his way. I finally found some tools to help his writing. But he never really talked to me.
While I was covering second grade, though, my heart swelled. (My bitter, blackened heart.) A came up to me and said, "Can I use the bathroom?" A complete sentence, unprompted. He looked me in the eye when he said it. Not wanting to make him self-conscious, I answered him without making a big deal. It took huge amounts of self-control, to wait until I left the room to consider the weight of what happened. It might not be exciting for your average second grader...but for A, it's huge.