Half a Cup of Blues

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Getting Real ...

As the school year draws to a close we often pause and take personal inventories of ourselves and where we are going. This year has been no different.

Today, we examine the road that we have chosen to travel.

I have, as previously stated, a self-contained classroom with 12 students in grades 9-12. Each student has at least one mental health diagnosis and various other specific learning disabilities and/or conduct issues. We are one of the most restricted school environments this side of a locked facility. Our goal is always to help students learn to manage their behaviors sufficiently enough to transition to a less restricted environment. This often translates to something along the lines of: "If you don't assault anyone for (___) days and follow all of the school rules then (maybe) you can go to the continuation school," or some other modified setting. Our students truly struggle to make it back and many just give up and quit trying altogether.

That's not the case in my classroom. We are not a room of failures; rather we are a room of successes in progress. Every student can be successful at something. You find what it is and build on it, and build, and build, and ...you get the idea.

Today, we celebrate success.

Two very neat young ladies will say goodbye at the end of school today and start their first day of summer school in the local public high school tomorrow. One has been here for five months and the other has been here for 2 years (but only in my classroom this last semester). They are incredibly different young women. One is quiet and shy and the other is loud and endearingly obnoxious. The latter has had to learn to control her mouth these last few months and she has made great strides. The former has had to focus on not hurting herself when she feels anxious or depressed and she, too, has been incredibly successful.

Today will be a day of tears.

But they will be good tears. I'll miss them both like crazy (they hug me about ten times a day each!) and, even though we're getting four new students in here next week, we will still feel the void that they leave behind. Each student brings something unique to our room, touches our lives, and leaves something behind. No matter how big the challenge, we are better for having crossed paths. I won’t cry because I’ll miss them, though I will, and I won’t cry because they won’t need me anymore. I will cry because I love them and am so very proud of what they have accomplished. I am not a “fixer” though they often think that I am. I supply the tools and teach them how to use them but, in the end, it is their own decision whether or not to make changes in their behaviors, habits, and lives. They have the power; they had it all the time.

Today will be a day of goodbyes.

I will say goodbye to the 2004-2005 school year.
I will NOT say goodbye to my girls. I will see them every week for the next few months to offer support and encouragement. They may leave my room but they never leave my heart.

They are, now and always, my kids.


Today’s Plan: Keep tissue nearby and smile through the tears.

8 Comments:

  • Very nicely written. I'm happy for the two young women making it in this world.
    Jas...

    By Blogger Jas..., at 6/09/2005 11:37 AM  

  • yea michelle. i am grabbing a kleenex myself now too.

    no matter where they go you have benefited them with your wisdom. And this will ultimately benefit the world. your heart is full. thanks for sharing it with me.

    you are a great leader. Your kids are lucky to have you!

    mel

    By Blogger Melanie, at 6/09/2005 12:11 PM  

  • Michelle....you always have the nicest way of expressing things like this. I will never tire of your moving stories with your kids. Congrats on another school year over--from a former teacher, I know all the feelings that happen on such an auspicious day! Luv ya!

    By Blogger Lexie, at 6/09/2005 2:48 PM  

  • I sit in awe of you, silken steel.

    By Blogger bhd, at 6/09/2005 5:29 PM  

  • Congratulations to the 2 young women! And thanks for letting us peak in on your world today, Michelle! It very moving.

    By Blogger Yibbyl, at 6/09/2005 9:08 PM  

  • You rock.

    By Anonymous Allan, at 6/09/2005 9:34 PM  

  • You can always tell a great teacher about how she/he talks about the kids and what the kids do.

    Your post was truly inspiring.

    By Anonymous owld_skipper, at 6/10/2005 9:28 AM  

  • Once again, you have impressed me. I don't know how you do what you do.

    By Blogger Alison, at 6/13/2005 10:25 PM  

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