Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear Jerome

Dear Jerome,

You have stretched me more as a teacher, than any student in the last two years.  You can make me feel angrier, happier, and prouder faster then I ever knew possible.  You came bursting into my classroom on the second week of school and reaped havoc on my stable classroom environment.  You refused to work, refused to stay in the classroom, refused to follow any rules. You stood up to other teachers, the principal, and everyone in the office. Several teachers pegged you as a gang kid. 

I didn't listen to any of them.  I saw your insecurity, your low confidence, your newness.  I didn't know what to do, you challenged me.  We talked endlessly in the hall, drew pictures of what you were mad about, and slowly, slowly broke down some of your frustrating walls. 

At the end of the first month of school, I was beat. I asked everyone who would listen how to reach you.  I want more for you then for you to stay in my room. I want to you learn.  I want you to read independently,  I want you to feel confident in math.   After countless incidences with other teachers in the building, I crouched down, looked you straight in the face and told you that I would not ever give up on you.  I meant it.

Something changed that day, although I didn't know it yet.  It took a week more of you trying my patience, seeing if I would hold true to what I told you.  I would count to ten and join you in the hall, I honestly told you your options over and over when I felt like yelling. I let you lay on the floor when I felt like forcing you to stand and talk.  I gave you space, respect, and stability. I gave you a snack to take home for dinner. 

Last week you joined my team. You told me. For the first time you kept your word. A glorious 6 days have past and not once have you failed to turn in your homework, or run around my room, or yell out while I was teaching.  You make me smile when you give me the 24th hug of the day or when you wear around an "I love Mrs. Howard" post-it on your shirt.  Your laugh is so contagious.  You sharpen pencils for me. You pass out germ-x before lunch and hold my hand in line. 

I can't wait to see what the rest of the school year holds for you.  I'm so proud of how far you've come.  I tell you every evening when you leave that tomorrow can be the best day of your life. and I believe it.
Mrs. Howard


  1. Awesome...

    Jerome is so lucky to have you to believe in him.

    Come work some magic with my critters before they take me down!