I have a tough student. Within the first days of school I found myself toe-to-toe with her about following a simple direction. I learned long ago to pick your battles, but this was one I picked and I needed to win. She was quickly trying to establish control and breaking rules in the process. I did not battle then, but simply explained that she had received a reminder and a warning so the next step was time owed/ phone call home. She needed to learn to comply, but was having no part of it. For the next many months, I would see some improvements, but then another very public display of disrespect. I picked battles I could win. Over time, the duration of the time off-task and scowling became less and less. I held on to my expectations and continued to look for praiseworthy actions.
Everyday had to possibility of an incredible challenge with her behavior. When she was on, she was great, but those off days were defeating. At this point in the year, things are much better. She has blossomed in some ways, taken ownership of her work and has actually stepped outside of herself to be helpful to other students. She is actually quite adept on the computer and recently was able to show others how to use a cool computer drawing program.
So tonight, listening to a podcast by Angela Watson called The Truth for Teachers, I was reminded to celebrate the small wins. To be present in the moments of teaching where we can really connect with our students. This student’s behaviors have been testing my resolve all year. If I said up, she said down, just because.
Today she had written a little something .
Behind the blur is a sweet smiley face. She asked if I would take a picture with her. I am not really a sledder…but what this meant was that for this moment in time, we were ok. She did acknowledge that “sometimes we fight.” True from her perspective, but what made me happy was that I was available for this moment. I was present for this SMALL WIN. I look forward to more wins. ( and Spring Break!)