Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 320- Jamie*

Because of tonight's Gleepeat (a Glee episode repeat, obviously), I had to lean on some other thing to make my day.  Thankfully, I had just that thing.

Jamie was instantly endearing from the moment I met her.  At first, I couldn't explain why exactly, but she was one of those kids that you just like.  Ever since our first day together, I have found that the more I learn about her and get to know her, the more I like her.  That's not always the case with eighth grade girls. 

Many things about Jamie make her a less than typical eighth grader.  She has a sister in the building, a blond toothpick whose good grades come somewhat easily.  Jamie works incredibly hard to earn decent grades... and to be blond... and to be thin.  While her hair may not exactly be golden, her heart most certainly is.  I'm not sure that I have any students who try harder or do more with what they have.  She always always always does her work to 100% of her capabilities, she always always always smiles warmly and converses with me in the hallway (another behavior not always so typical of teens), and she always always always listens intently in class.  When she doesn't know the answers, she throws her hand up anyway and asks a question or gives it her best guess.  Can you tell how much I like this kid?

Jamie is another one of these students, come to find out, who has far less than ideal circumstances when she leaves our walls.  You'd never guess this from who she is or how she acts.  My hopes are set firmly on the idea that she will break the cycle and do all of the wonderful things that we both know she is capable of.  Her dreams belong far outside her house and her neighborhood.

My students took a test today.  I have been reviewing with them and encouraging them to study for over a week.  I have given them multiple different kinds of materials and supports and ideas and experiences to try to help them succeed on this.  I'm not a huge fan of traditional assessments in an English class, but my district asks me to do them occasionally to collect data, so I do.  My group of not-always-so-hardworking-kids does not always care so much as the rest of us about where their scores end up.

Jamie does.

Once again, she worked so hard to prepare and to succeed.  She rushed up to me at the end of her hour to see how she had done on her test.  I told her that they probably wouldn't be graded until tomorrow or Thursday but that I hoped she had done well.  She was such a sweet little puppy that I looked over her paper while the next class was taking their test.  When I saw that she had only missed one multiple choice question on the entire test, I almost jumped out of my chair.  I caught myself smiling for the rest of the hour, thinking about how she would react when she found out.  This was by far the best she had ever done on any major assignment.

I pulled her aside as she came out of her class and shared the good news.  Our two grins lasted for the rest of the day. 

Thank you, Jamie, you made my day.

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