Last week during one of my residency days, I was reminded of the importance of relationships.
I walked into one school (my fourth visit) and a grade four student noticed me in the hallway. She said, “I’m so happy to see you today!” I immediately felt welcome and excited for the day.
One of the morning announcements mentioned the birthday of a teacher assistant. When she walked into the grade three class I was in, the kids stopped to wish her happy birthday. They asked if they could sing to her but the teacher was worried about losing out on my limited time with them. I insisted we sing. People first.
During my time in grade one, a little one leaned into me as if for support or security. He was teary but reluctant to say what was wrong. Despite all of my efforts to coax him to his desk to work, he was back at my side before I could blink. I realized that ‘writing’ was not what he needed that day. He had other needs taking precedent and stay glued to me for the rest of class.
I’m often asked if I miss being in a school–one school. I don’t actually. I feel fortunate to meet many students in many schools. The relationships may not be long-lasting, but I hope our short time together still has an impact on students. The students certainly have an impact on me. I am fortunate to still get cards and pictures, hugs and “I love you’s”. More important, I have the privilege of watching students change their attitudes towards writing.
Yup, I like this gig.