Sunday, February 7, 2010

Strings That Tie Us Together

This story is about one of my all time favorite students, if I had favorite students.  But being a completely perfect teacher, I don't. :)

Anyway, I remember meeting Shelby when she walked into my room with her mom for meet the teacher. She was dressed in boy-length sport shorts, a tee-shirt, and flip flops. Her hair was straight down, and about shoulder length. She looked tough and strong, and I listened as her mom told me of a fight she was in last year, where she took a punch.  If you are getting the idea of a tough kid, you are seeing this correctly. If you are thinking bully, you're completely off. 

Towards the end of the year, my class each made quilt pieces, and I sewed them together to make a class quilt.  So when we were finished with our project we had extra embroidery thread.  Being a camp girl at heart, I showed my students how to make a variety of string bracelets and necklaces.  I made an example and eventually let Shelby have it.  Little did I know the impact it would have on me, later.

So the year ends, Shelby moves to Jr. High, and I see her when I go to Jr. High sporting events. The first time I saw her she runs up, yells my name and gives me a hug.  The first thing she shows me is how she is still wearing her necklace.  (It had been on for a total of 5 months at this point)

The next time I see Shelby is at a basketball game, having hurt her knee she couldn't play in the game, so she sat by me on the bleachers. It amazes me the changes in this kid in a year. She dons dress pants, and a pink shirt, dress shoes, a little make-up, and a nice hair-do.  Then she recalls a story that happened at the last basketball game. The refs wouldn't let her play with the necklace on. She fought it a little, since it's just string, but in the end they made her cut it off. It occurs to me, I hadn't really remembered that she still had it. (now 11 months) So I didn't notice when she wasn't wearing it. She quickly brought me back to reality by lifting up her pant leg and showing me her ankle where the necklace had been tied. I'm pretty sure it choked me up a little. 

Being a teacher is sometimes and thank-less job.  But there are students sometimes who are wise beyond their years and appreciate the hard work that goes into their education.  Shelby will always be a bright spot in my teaching career. 

Shelby- I am so proud of the person you are, keep fighting for what you believe. Continue to make good choices and are going to soar Shelb! Thanks for helping me remember what is important.

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