Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Nine Stories about Kids

Inspired by a fellow educator from the Teacher Leaders Network , John Holland and his 12 stories, I wanted to share my stories about kids over the last almost twenty years that I have been an educator. These are the ones that come to mind from my years of teaching.

Cory - Most days of my first year of teaching seventh grade language arts Cory either sat on the stool next to me at the front of the room or stood next to me from whatever spot I chose to teach. Cory was my first experience with an ADD child. He fashioned angel wings that we attached to his back that he wore to the cafeteria one day. He wanted to "be good" so bad.

Tyrone - Every sentence was a song to Tyrone. It didn't matter what you said, he could find a phrase, a chorus, a verse from a song that fit right in to what you were saying....and he would sing it, out loud, right in the middle of instruction. He was sixteen and in the ninth grade. He dropped out of school that year.

Brett - Green Day was god that year, and Brett wrote lyrics like he was Billy Jo Armstrong. It was the year I was fired up about Nancy Atwell's In the Middle and used her writing workshop to get a group of seventh graders fired up about writing....even if it was lyrics that they wrote sometimes.

"Red" - I don't remember his name, just his fiery red hair, his bad attitude, and his announcement that he didn't read. EVER. He read The Outsiders in my seventh grade language arts class; he connected with literature. He said it was the first book he'd ever read. He was Ponyboy.

Sarah - She cried when I told her that I was leaving the language arts classroom to take a job as a media coordinator in another county, and she wrote me the nicest letter about how much she'd miss me. I don't think I've ever used the stationery she gave me. Using it up seems like it means losing the memory.

Jessica - That girl loved to read, and she was the BEST student media assistant that I've ever had. She was diligent about keeping her shelves straight and was always pleasant and excited about helping other students. She insisted that we have a Battle of the Books team, even if it meant only four eighth graders on the whole team. We lost the battle, but we won the "war".

Amy - Another of my wonderful student media assistants, I saw her at a local drugstore a few years ago. She told me she was now working in education and that she had a baby. She had turned out to be a little more serious than her seventh grade days. I felt old.

Michael - The day he hid in the media center, reading graphic novels, we knew there was a problem. We were his safe place most of the time. More than once, I had to calm him down when he was frustrated. Did I mention he was very smart and autistic?

Autumn - In the mornings, sometimes she'd help us check out books; other times she'd just want to crawl under the counter in a fetal position and go back to sleep. She always shared her stories of home with us. She was always planning to move and wouldn't be coming back after the semester, track out, the summer. I'm glad she came back each time.

So many students over the year, it's always amazing what sticks with you.

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