Today something wonderfully sweet happened that reminded me of one of the reasons that I love being a teacher.
I teach ELD (English Language Development) in a rotation with the rest of my second grade colleagues. Our students are divided up by proficiency level in English. My group is the beginners. Many times these kids are the newcomers. This year's class however was not comprised of newcomers though. The kids all speak basic enough playground English to get by but really struggle. Today, I got my first newcomer of the year.
"Karina" came to class somewhat nervous. She was confused because she didn't understand the whole rotation thing. I usually only speak in English during ELD time but today, I made an exception since I didn't want to stress Karina out even more. I conducted the lesson in English first and then in Spanish. That was quite a task for me since the lesson was on condensation. I didn't know the academic language in Spanish for condensation but I could explain the process. While Karina was nervous, she really jumped right on in repeated many phrases and got some English content vocabulary correct as well. Throughout the lesson I kept walking past her desk dropping off lots of positive praise or setting her up with kids seated next to her to play with her at recess and lunch. She smiled at me but didn't say much. Even though we didn't have much reciprocal communication I just had a good feeling about this girl. I was a bit sad that my homeroom class was full because I would love to have her in my room. When the rotation was over I told her how happy I was to meet her and that I would see her tomorrow.
I got to see her sooner than that. Karina came by a couple hours later during math time for a Spanish version of our math text. She came with a classmate again. The classmate handed me the note from her teacher asking for the book. I then turned to Karina, smiled and asked how her day was going. Karina then walked over to me and gave me the BIGGEST hug and just smiled at me and said she was fine. That just melted me.
As a child, I went to 6 different elementary schools and 3 different junior high schools. I know what it is like to be the new kid. I really do everything I can to make kids feel safe and comfortable when they are new. That enormous hug from Karina told me that she was thankful for my help and that I did my job well. I couldn't help but get teary eyed.
I love my job!