Friday, April 18, 2014

Year 4: Week 30 – Three Moments

6th Grade Giggles
In the middle of a sixth grade band lesson some of my girls thought it was really funny when one of them put her trombone mouthpiece completely in their mouth and made a funny expression. It was one of those times I had to laugh with them even though I was about to start a piece of music.

The amazing thing was that these five girls refocused their attention very quickly and got right back to work. Sometimes when you let go, they will come back to you even faster. It’s important that your students are reminded once in a while that you find their silliness hilarious as well.

After a day full of teaching I found myself sitting in a colleagues classroom listening to songs produced by Phil Spector. I had wandered into his room looking for someone to vent to about the frustrations of teaching middle school boys. He was in his room and when he saw me walk by, he waved me in. He heard my complaints and validated them in a way, well only that he could do. This teacher is one of the smartest people I have ever met and the way he applied his thoughtfulness to my feelings meant a lot to me.

Our talk turned to our shared passion for popular music. He played a couple Phil Spector songs that I had been into and we geeked out about how incredible these songs sounded.

The next day when I checked my mailbox, I found it stuffed with five different CDs from him for me to borrow. Sometimes it’s small gestures like this that mean the most.

The Hug
The accommodation I figured out for this student meant that she could better participates in class and that she would feel more included.  Like many accommodations, it took only a couple seconds to setup.  This adjustment was a big deal for this student and her parents even though the accommodation took very little out of me as a teacher. 

We have been trying to encourage this girl to advocate better for her own needs but it’s hard at any age to put yourself out there and ask for extra things from a teacher. So sometimes we need to make the first step forward as the teacher and show students that we truly care.

As I was leaving school, I saw this mom in the playground. She waved and walked up to me. She reached her hand out and then hesitated as she said, “Mr. Tang, I got to give you a hug, thank you so much for what you did for our daughter.”

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