Today, I welcomed a new student onto my caseload. He transferred in from a different state and has spent three weeks with us while I did some testing and the paperwork to get him on my caseload. As of today, it’s official. I get the joys of teaching him an individualized reading class for 90 minutes a day. He gets to join two other kids that shuffle in and out within those 90 minutes. The kids that come in also join me for reading, but are at different levels, so that they do different material. I get to split my time up with each of them as we all sit at a table and work together. I pulled my new student into my room and my first student came to join us. I introduced the two and they automatically hit it off. The higher leveled reader was helping teach my new student as we went through the first half hour. It was perfect. Definitely a teachable moment for me as I watched my non-confident reader teach a lower leveled reader phonics skills. Needless to say, this student had confidence in himself and my new student gained a new friend. After that student left, the next few students came in and the 90 minutes was over before I knew it. When I was taking my new student back to his classroom, I asked him what he thought of our first day. He looked at me very seriously and said, “I liked it.” So I was like, “What did you like about it?” “I have someone to help me now. I like that it is just you and me working together. I get it now.” The kid left me with a big hug. As he went into the classroom, I sat and nodded to myself as I watched the 4th grade classroom door close behind him. I instantly thought to myself, “Yup, you are sooooo going to be the kid I save this year and do everything in my power to get you to like school and learn. You are going to be the one that reminds me why it is that I want to do what I do everyday.” I am proud to say that this kid is now one of my lunch buddies. No matter which one of my students I sit by for lunch, he will come and sit down right beside me. Sure, I work on his table and eating manners, but he doesn’t mind. He will instantly get a napkin to use, wipe his face, or use his utensils correctly if I ask him to. I have a feeling that this kid and I will not only be spending a lot of time together for the remainder of the year, but we will be learning a lot from each other.
In conclusion, this new student may have came and thrown a complete mess into my perfectly working schedule, but it’s worth it. One 90 minute session of working with him reminded me that this is exactly why I do the job I do. When I hit that time of the year where I feel like my work is going nowhere, he will be the one I look at and say, “Never mind. I am making a difference.”