Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Validation

N. (not the N. I usually write about) is definitely what I would consider a success story. In addition to coming into the year with very low math skills (like most of my kids), he is also an English language learner and is designated with special needs. Until about late February/early March, he barely ever talked. At all. He took a month-long absence from school to visit relatives out of the country, and when he came back there were some concerns that he'd forgotten most of his English. He only nodded when I said hello and asked how he was doing. He never asked for help, and barely responded with more than one or two words when someone tried to give help. Yikes.

Then something changed. N. started smiling in the morning when I would ask how he was doing. By coincidence, I sat him with O., another English language learner (who is not really hindered by language), and the synergy blew my mind. N. talked to O. more than I'd ever seen him talk to anyone. They even started teasing each other, which was by far the most social I'd ever seen N. Then he started to understand the material a little bit, and from there developed the courage to ask for help with the parts that were confusing. He started coming in at lunch and after school for extra help and extra practice. Then everyone in the class got the impression that he is ultra-smart, and his academic status shot through the roof. The result? He got over 100% in the second marking period. The even better result? N. has made himself a part of the class. He interacts with other students, he talks to me about his interests outside of school, and the other students care when he's not there.

Now for my favorite--and completely selfish--result: this morning N. got to class early (as he has started to do) and he asked me where I would be teaching next year. When I told him that I won't be at Mission, his face fell. Despite all the ways that N.'s newfound success should indicate my own success as a teacher, it was not until this conversation that I actually felt like I'd contributed to his growth. N. is an amazing person who could be successful in any class, but it's my success that he feels like I'm the one who brought it out of him.

Thank you, N. What more could I ask for in my student teaching year?

1 comment:

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Oh, Geetha, how wonderful for both N and for you!