We all know the drill. The sprouts with the highest academic and behavior needs get the higher percentage of our attention… day in and day out. Is it fair? Absolutely not. Unfortunately, it’s just the way the cookie crumbles and there’s not much you can do about it.
Lucky for me, with a team teaching situation this year, I’m finding I can give more attention to all children, regardless of academic or behavior concerns. No doubt, those ‘squeaky wheels’ always get a little more regard, but those ‘rocks’ as I like to call them (rocks as in, ‘like a rock’ sturdy and steady, I don’t have to worry about them too much) get more than usual.
Two of my sprouts who fit into that category this year are Evelyn and Jason. Both are quiet, respectful, and academically strong. It’s easy to see how each could get lost in the shuffle, but having two teachers has allowed them more one on one and ‘small moment’ time.
As long as I teach, I’ll never forget hearing Evelyn’s mother tell me at last summer’s open house, “She doesn’t really like men.” Yikes. Good thing my teaching partner is a woman. Funny thing is, turns out Evelyn just hadn’t met the right guy yet… me. Surely she was slower to warm up to my charms, but eventually, in her own time, she allowed me to show her the kindness she deserved.
Last week, Evelyn presented me with the following:
“Thank you,” I said.
“I think you’re sweet too,” I finished as she smiled at me. She offered a rare and cherished hug.
Jason too is a quiet boy who, unlike most boys in kindergarten, rarely acts silly or needs to be reigned in. If I never said, ‘Jason, thank you for sitting politely and being ready to learn,’ the poor boy would barely ever hear his name. While other boys seek me out for hugs and handholding (yes, the boys crave them), Jason would always stay back, preferring to offer a smile instead.
About two weeks ago, Jason came up to me during Quiet Time and asked if he could have a hug. Naturally, I obliged, but I was surprised by his request. After our hug, as he pulled back, I said, “Thank you for such a nice hug.”
Since then, he’s begun asking for hugs every day. I’m not sure what exactly prompted that first hug request, but as with most things hug related, I don’t question it, I just take my hugs as they come… and they are plentiful.
This year, Evelyn and Jason have taught me an important lesson. While the squeaky wheel usually gets the grease, silence is golden and deserves to be noticed, rewarded, and hugged.