I am linking up with Katie Knight's High and Low Linky Party! I will be sharing my highs and lows for January. I hope you will go to her blog and link up as well!
So here we go!
I have one student in my class who came to us at the beginning of the year from another elementary school in my district. This poor child is developmentally delayed and came to me with an IEP where she gets almost the full 3 hours of time on her IEP and speech. She needs OT as well, and I'm working on trying to get her those services as well. This poor child was also the victim of some abuse as well. My poor kiddo. She has been working really hard this year, but she has made little progress in reading. She's learned a few sight words and some of her numbers. So imagine my surprise when she came back from Math Lab (one of our special areas) with her certificate from Math Magician saying she had learned her +0 addition facts! She had a little help from the teacher with clicking on the correct responses, but she was the one who gave the answers! She got her +0 facts! I was so excited, I went and told every.single.person in the office, her ECE teacher, speech teacher, and SC worker. We were all so proud. I love it when I see all the great accomplishments my kiddos make, but I swear, it's the little things that mean the most. :-)
My low was pretty low this year. We all know how we get attached to our students, right? Well, I had 3 students that I lost in a few weeks. One left right before Christmas, so I came back from Christmas break and he wasn't there. The other mentioned that he was moving, but I didn't have official word, so I dropped him off at his bus on the last day before Christmas break and gave him a huge hug, told him I loved him, and that I would miss him. I had tears in my eyes, and I think he did too. He didn't come back after break. This child was the sweetest, happiest, most polite, wonderful kid. I miss him dearly. I took his picture and hung it with my other 2 kiddos on the wall so I can look at all three of those babies from my table. These 3 kids were those kids you worry about. I teach in a school where 94% of my kids get free and reduced lunch, and the 3 that left me were some of those ones I just worry about. I miss them every day.
The last student that left me, this one broke my heart so much. So much that I'm honestly sitting here crying as I write this. This sweet girl came to me at the beginning of the year. When I looked at her records, there was no school listed for K. She was super low, didn't know all her letters, numbers, could barely write her name, and I wondered if she had K at all. Turns out she did (not sure what happened to our system, but it was in her paperwork). Well, anyway, she and her brother and sister (who are twins) and the younger brother were in foster care. About 2 weeks into the school year, they all moved to another foster home. The second day this second woman had them, she brought the littlest one in to school to talk to the teachers. The little boy was wearing the house shoes she had bought him because he didn't want to take them off. It was the sweetest and saddest thing I had ever seen. She wanted ways to help this little girl because she knew she was behind. I gave her everything I had. (Luckily, she came during my planning, and I gave it up to talk to her!) She worked with this little girl. My student came in and struggled a bit at the beginning of the year with some attention seeking behaviors, but those subsided finally. She moved from an A level to a 3, which for her, was a HUGE accomplishment since she may as well have skipped Kindergarten with her level of knowledge. (Compare to my high above). She learned her letters. We use the Phonics Dance program, and she learned the song. Used it when she didn't know sounds when she was writing. Learned sight words. We worked on place value for a few weeks in November, and she was one of the ones who began to catch on. When she passed that DRA level 3, I was so proud of all she had accomplished. It was like she had mastered K in half of the year. Yes, she was still behind, but she was making SO MUCH PROGRESS.
In December, we had a little scare. Since the kids were in foster, the woman taking care of them should have been receiving assistance to take care of them. She wasn't, and she wasn't sure how much longer she could afford to keep them. She certainly couldn't afford to buy them Christmas presents. She almost had to have them sent to an orphanage or back into foster care where the 4 of them would be split up. We reached out to her, because we didn't want this to happen. One of my wonderful coworkers arranged for someone she knew to buy these kids presents. Our school found a way for her to provide them Christmas dinner. When I asked my students what they wanted for Christmas, this little girl said she wanted a teddy bear. Not a DSI or a PS3 or a bike or the other expensive gifts some of the other kids wanted. A teddy bear. I wanted to buy her a teddy bear so badly. But those kids got a great Christmas, and they got to stay with this WONDERFUL foster lady.
But last week, I got a horrible phone call that broke my heart and sent me into tears for the second time over a kid leaving me in front of my students. (The other was last year. Not that I've never cried over a kid leaving me, but this is the second time I've straight up sobbed.) Her parents had received custody of the kids again in court that morning, and they were leaving. I didn't even make it off the phone before I started just bawling. I couldn't even get her name out without crying. I hugged her, and she cried and said she didn't want to leave. I asked our 1st grade assistant to stay with the rest of the kids so I could walk her down to the office. Her foster was there, and I gave her a huge hug and thanked her for all her hard work. Gave my student another hug and told her to call me if she needed ANYTHING, knowing that wouldn't happen because she's 6 years old, but I needed to say something. I just needed her to know that I cared about her. I would have taken her in a heartbeat. I just wanted to help this little girl so badly. I just wanted her to have some stability in her life. She had flourished so much with me in just a few months. And I cried. I still look at her empty chair and my heart aches. I wonder and worry.
There is something a little good that came out of this story. One glimmer of hope. I found out that the school she went to is the school where I did my student teaching. She isn't in the classroom of the wonderful teacher I worked with, but she is near her. The older brother is actually ECE, so he is working with the other teacher I student taught for. So I can talk to him and see how they are doing. If they are being taken care of, being worked with at home. But I just wish she could have stayed at my school, where we know her and care about her. So that was my low, and it was pretty low.
I just want to email that new teacher of hers and tell her to take care of my little "baby." I can't understand why I am so attached to this kid, but I am, and I'm still crying over her.
I realized that I probably just blabbed for a looooooong time, but I just I just needed to let that out much more than I thought I did. I really appreciate if you are still reading this far! I'm supposed to comment on other posts, but I think I'll just have to do that tomorrow because I'm just worn out over no sleep last night due to high winds and a tornado warning, a fun fun case of sinusitis, and going to class. I won't forget- I just need to tap out now, I think.
I hope to be back later this week with a much, much, much happier post! Even if I have to make it up!