|8th graders can have the same curiosity about the world as their kindergarten selves.|
It won't take you long to find a good reason to like each one of them.
I confess. By the end of the year, I've said this a lot...to a whole lot of kids. And it's true.
Here's a great article on cnn.com about the subject of teachers who play favorites. Here's the best part:
"'I would say, first off, that teachers do their best to treat all kids fairly,' said Dryw Freed, who has taught for 16 years in public schools in North Carolina and Virginia. 'With that said, we are only human and do respond differently to different children.' But it's not as simple as having one favorite. In a class of 27 students, Freed says, the majority of the children would all rotate and have 'moments of being one of (her) favorites.' 'With very few exceptions, each kid has something that endears her to a teacher, so there don't tend to be dramatic, clear-cut favorites,' says Freed. 'It's not a case of a few favorites and a bunch of goats. It's more like a collection of beautiful, funny, endearing little people, a couple of whom happen to stand out slightly at one end of the spectrum or another.'"
That is the perfect way to sum it up. Here is a short list of personal reasons for liking the children in my classroom:
You're kind. I've never seen you treat your classmates in any other way, even when you thought I wasn't paying attention.
You clean up after yourself. When I make time for an art activity, you don't wait for the 10th request to return your supplies and clean your area. You respect the work of our custodians like I do.
You're calm. You're in 8th grade; how do you travel in such a bubble of peace? Once I find out who you are, I feng shui the classroom by placing you near my desk. The classroom temperature changes.
You're like a dog with a bone. You don't give up. Nothing is too challenging for you, even when I know that it just may in fact be a little out of your comfort range. You're on it.
You love to read. I don't care if it's a comic book or Dickens. If you have identified yourself as a lifelong reader already, I love that about you.
You had 10 better excuses than that other kid, but you turned your work in on time.
You were not ready to read when they were teaching everyone else how to read in elementary school, and now you're having to reopen as many of those windows as possible. But....you're trying. Love it.
You have Asperger's. The world is difficult to decode for anyone, but you're finding that you may have some added speed bumps in reading all of the signs when it comes to interpersonal relationships and the life lessons in literature. Watching your mind work is exciting for me. Truth be told, your logic and reasoning make a lot of sense to me. You're amazing and strong.
You wore that to school. That wacky outfit is awesome. Your sense of fashion is electrifying.
You come to school regularly. Do you know how much easier it is to teach a child who is in front of me? Loads. Thanks.
You turn in all of your work. Yes, I assign work for a reason. I also think I give a reasonable amount of time to complete it. You agree.
When you don't turn in your work, you don't act surprised when your grade's low. You understand that I grade with numbers, not good intentions.
You think of yourself as a bad writer and listen intently to instructions on how to improve. You try the tips out in your own work. Hey! What do you know? You can barely believe what you just created. You are excited and let me post it on our classroom wall. You even think of writing as a career choice. Look at you!
You read every single small book I put in the back of the room, even though you claim to hate reading. Whatever, kid. I still think you're great.
You're always ready to help me pass papers and supplies to your classmates.
You don't shame me with disrespectful behavior during library visits, fire drills and grade level assemblies.
When you come to class, it's to learn. Asking for a bathroom pass is rare for you. Rare.
You unpack your supplies before class. You are so old school the way you sharpen your pencil before instruction starts.
You never forget to write your name on your work.
You always participate in class discussions.
You never participate in class discussions, but you write the most insightful journals, responses and papers. It's okay if we keep your ideas to ourselves.
You get out of hand. I speak to you in the hall. You cut it out. I love a kid who can recognize a mistake and make a change.
Your parents cut your hair right before school picture day. You spend homeroom hiding under a desk, but you still get your picture made. It's okay. Retakes are just around the corner.
You're funny. Your papers are full of personality. I love a natural born storyteller.
When I play James Brown, you're the only kid brave enough to get up and dance. You don't care. You just get up offa that thing.
You're game for whatever I have planned. Even when I teach you the "Harold and the Purple Crayon" yoga stretch because I think we have spent way too much time sitting and testing, you get up and try it with your awkward 8th grade self.
I tell you that your writing is bad this time, super bad. You take it in stride and revise and edit.
You laugh when I read silly stories to the class.
I know a little bit of the hand that life dealt you. It's one foot in front of the other some days. But every day you do something amazing anyway. I marvel at your strength.
You do your best on state tests. Thanks.
You stand up for what's right. Compassion.
You rock that band solo. I can't imagine how many hours of practice got you to this moment. I admire your dedication.
It's your first year being mainstreamed after being released from special education services. You are doing your best. You are excelling!
When you are out and your family asks for make up work, you complete it and turn it in.
You are in my group to watch over for a field trip. You understand that I am totally OCD when it comes to keeping other people's children safe. We have a great day, and you always let me know where you'll be.
You come to school with something to write with and write on.
I think you all get the point. Is each kid my "favorite" at some time or another? Probably. There are plenty of reasons that I think that children are fabulous, and all of them aren't related to being academically inclined. I'm certain that most 8th graders have no inkling of how even the smallest efforts can endear them to the adults in their lives, but I hope that more than a few of them have found themselves appreciated for trying to be the best of who they are.