Saturday, October 24, 2009

A New Perspective

This week we conducted Parent Teacher Conferences at school. While the days are longer, and there is sometimes disappointing news to share, I always come away reminded of how great our students really are, even the stinkers! Conferences can be intimidating. You never know how a parent will react to what you have to say. Thankfully that's not the norm.

You're always told to treat your students like you'd treat your own kids, and put yourself in the parents' shoes. Well for 11 years, I didn't know what that was like, nor did I ever want to think that I could conduct myself any differently. Those comments always annoyed me. So when I say I hate to admit this, I really hate to admit this. I am a completely different teacher ever since Vinny came along. Oh, I'm not any more nice or any less sarcastic (well maybe a little), but I see things differently now. I see things like a mom now. Sure, he's only 7 months old, but someday I'll be sitting on the other side of the table sitting in the little chair. This all occurred to me right there in the middle of one of our conferences.

While one of our students read his personal reflection about his progress, I could feel my eyes well up. I couldn't help but see Vincent sitting there, and then I caught sight of his mom's huge smile. What a surreal moment. Before it was all over, this little boy was laughing at how silly it looked to see his teachers and mom crying about how wonderful he was. But we all understood one another. Of course I've felt pride for my students achievements in the past, but I couldn't help but think of how hard he's worked to "get" things. This boy was so easily frustrated early on, but persisted. He's truly one of our sweeties, too. I found myself in a flash forward to Vinny's first parent teacher conference. I don't want him to struggle necessarily, but I want for him the same things this student felt because of his character. Perseverance. Accomplishment. Pride. Confidence. Integrity. You can't feel those things without knowing how hard you worked to achieve success.

Vincent has already accomplished so much is little lifetime so far. He's already made us so proud.

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