"I'm Worried About My Reputation"
Why I Love Being a Teacher
Meet CalvinAt the beginning of the school year I had given a 3-2-1 type of exit ticket and one of the questions I asked is what is one thing that you are worried about. The answer that one student wrote on his paper saddened me. For the sake of making this post easier to write, I will call him Calvin. I teach sixth grade and coming from the elementary school, I had already heard of Calvin, so I guess he had valid reason to be worried. I didn't hear much in the way of details, just that Calvin was a behavior problem.
The next day I was walking across the playground and he came running up to me. I took the opportunity to let him know that I had no preconceived notions about him and that his reputation in this new school was whatever he wanted to make it be. A tiny little white lie, but for the greater good.
Although I could see why former teachers had found Calvin to be a bit of a handful, I quickly learned to appreciate the motivation behind the behavior. Calvin was just a kid that was REALLY excited about learning, so much so that he just had to yell out ideas at every moment he had them. I loved his creativity and his enthusiasm. It was one of those years that the planets aligned and that kid with the "behavior problem" got paired with the exactly right match in a teacher. I know those years when students like Calvin get paired with the wrong match in a teacher can be very frustrating for both parties. Believe me, despite my best efforts to be what each student needs me to be for them, I have had my share of bad match ups.
Fast forward a couple of months into the school year, we are learning about early humans in History and our current project is to make a report card for an early human. Calvin is jumping out of his seat with excitement asking if he can make it on a rock. I'm thinking I have no idea how that is even possible, but I say, "Sure, that would be really awesome."
I should mention that Calvin only turns in work on occasion, and usually it is not a worksheet that spurs his interest enough to get him to complete a task. Every day that week Calvin is telling me about his project and how he has found the perfect rock, etc. I have to admit, I'm not really convinced at this point that he is actually going to be turning something in on Friday.
Then the big day arrives and Calvin presents me with this: