There’s something about January. Perhaps it is the post-break hangover, or maybe the battery of tests we give the kids, but it is simply exhausting.  In addition, I’ve felt stretched thin by countless committees and meetings, all for which I feel passionately, but the amount of time is somewhat overwhelming.

Today’s events, however, seem to have enveloped each ounce of stress and exhaustion and washed them away, similar to a dip in the sand at the beach and near the shore.  These stressful events and the amount I’ve had on my plate seemed to have left a dip in my passion for teaching, an imprint that made it difficult to come to work for the past few weeks.

This interaction today washed that away in moments.

My student whom I’ve referenced recently was sitting with me today during writing.  He generally struggles during this time, but the supports we’ve put in place, as well as the structured nature of writing in my class, were helping him in the grandest of ways.  He finished his graphic organizer in record time, and then we decided to begin writing his body paragraphs.  Recently, I’ve been trying to show him that he truly a writer; he just doesn’t realize it.  For this reason, I’ve scribed on occasion, given him sentence starters, and tried to let him discuss his thoughts before writing.  I did the same today: scribed for the first paragraph while he “stretched” out his ideas, and then let him use that paragraph as a model.

Lo and behold, with a few supports in place, like check-ins with a timer and proximity, he completed two whole paragraphs by himself.  This is, by far, the most writing I have ever seen this student do in one sitting.  It seemed the structure coupled with the scaffolds helped him to succeed.

I looked at him with disbelief, and I told him how proud of him I was.

“It’s because of your teaching,” he replied.
I sat, stunned, and laughed uncomfortably, because I did not want him giving this ownership to anyone but himself.
I pointed my finger and touched his head.  “No, it’s because of this,” I said.
“Maybe, but you unleashed it,” he said again.

Tears filled my eyes, and I quickly shook them away.

My “dip” was gone, washed away in a matter of seconds.

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