Friday, January 14, 2011


I’ve been thinking lately about things I would change if I could go back in time. 2 things have come to mind. They aren’t big things. In fact, they are kind of silly. I should probably feel good about having such silly things to regret. But I inherited the worry gene from my mother, so it’s in my blood.

1)  I would have taken my baby on the last day of school so my students could meet him. I was just so stressed out and ready to be done with everything holding me back from being here. I should have taken Blake with me so my students could see how cute he was. I feel bad about that. Funny thing is, those 4th graders probably won’t think about it at all…ever.

2)  I had a student in my class who didn’t really have any friends. And I knew why. He was just different. He was interested in things that weren’t considered cool, he wasn’t very athletic, but he wanted desperately to be a part of a group. He would play tag with a group of kids at recess. Unfortunately those kids had all gotten together and decided that if anyone got tagged, they would just go tag this kid. So he was always it. He would complain to me after recess and I suggested he find some new kids to play with. I didn’t know how to help him. I liked this student. I could see how he would wear on other people, but I saw his struggles and I prayed (literally) that he would one day find a person who could be his friend. We had class discussions throughout the year on including everyone and being kind to people in our class. Sometimes it helped. Sometimes it didn’t.

Aside from being smart, this student was amazing at not getting his work done and had the messiest desk I have ever seen. He could literally sit and daydream for an entire lesson. I would ask him a million times to get to work. I would kneel down by his desk and help him with each problem. He knew how to do the work. He would just get distracted. 

One day when he was out of his seat and wasting time I asked him what he was doing. He froze, gave me the, “Oh no, I’m caught” look. Jokingly I asked if it was his evil twin who wasn’t doing what he was supposed to. I gave his evil twin a name and it rhymed with his name. (This was a joke I had with my brother when we were growing up. He’d blame everything on his evil twin, whose name rhymed with his.)

Unfortunately the joke got away from me. Other kids started calling the student by this name. I felt terrible. Only 5 minutes after I had made the joke, I publicly apologized to my student and told the rest of my class that they weren’t to call him that name and if they did there would be consequences. I explained to them that I was only joking, but a joke is never funny if someone’s feelings get hurt. I asked this student to stay after school that day. I apologized again and asked if I had hurt his feelings. He said, “Umm, a little I guess.” I apologized for a third time and told him if anyone called him that name that he was to tell me. 

My fear is that someone will remember that joke and will start calling him that. It’s not like it’s a bad word, the name isn’t even a real name. I just don’t want him to be made fun of all because of something I said. I don’t want him to remember his 4th grade teacher as a jerk. 

(Ok, I felt so bad that when I found a star trek toy in my fruit loops, I took it to school and gave it to him. He looked at me like I was a weirdo and I had to remind him that he was Spock for Halloween. Then he told me his mom thought of the costume and that he didn’t really like Star Trek. But then he took the toy anyway. Maybe he’ll remember that instead.)


Lindsay said...

What I wouldn't give for smaller regrets. Mine involve things like my major (if I'd known that Bush was going to pass that blasted No Child Left Behind Act or that I'd someday be living in NYC, I totally would have studied English and editing rather than history teaching...) and all the reasons why, after taking classes for 7 years, I still can't speak French.


Tori Wilding said...

Aww, Whit!! I hate those kinds of regrets because when you happen to think about them, you remember exactly how you felt at that exact moment in time. And you just can't get it out of your head and you feel the dread, worry or fear all over again. I hope that student (I remember him well) will go on to do great things. :)

Two Normal Moms said...

More likely what he'll remember is his 4th grade teacher who owned up to a mistake and stood up for him in front of the entire class. Really, that is probably the message that will sink in.