Week 13, Tuesday

Several months ago I received an email from the 5–2 homeroom teacher that student A was acting strangely and more violent than usual under suspicion of not having taken his medication. When he came to class later that day he was agitated, climbing on the desk, and willing to fight people.

Since G has come along with her new system, I’ve noticed a huge improvement in student A. He greets me in the hall, is much calmer in class and to both of our great surprise, he even memorized the full script for the Willy Wonka role-play, which is something that most of the students did not do.

G stopped by after my other class to discuss plans for third grade but also update me on student A. On the first day she met him the students told her “he’s acting badly, just call the homeroom teacher” but she spoke to him separately and said “if you’re having a bad day you can take a break and sit in the back of the class”.

After class she taught him some breathing exercises to “release his anger“. Since then she has told him to visit her class whenever he wants so he stops by once a week to help clean. She told me today that the library teacher was so amazed by his new behavior: he actually sat and read a book for 20 minutes which apparently is not something he’s done before. And today he stopped by her class in his free time to volunteer to clean up. She gave him a special candy and told him “I’m so proud of you. You really changed.” In response he told her that he loved her because she really cared about him.

G added: “You know his mother had him when she was 14 years old.”

I was shocked— this isn’t something one usually hears about here. I’m curious as to the circumstances of this and I’m sure life was not easy for her. (Fun fact: did you know that in the USA, men between the ages of 20-30 father the most children to girls below 18? Let that sink in.)

G started to tear up when she told me about his progress and added “I’m just so grateful to see he changed and I’m so grateful to you. The kids are really comfortable around you.”

You often hear about teachers that change lives but I’m realizing now that I am seeing one up close.

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