The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 17 2013

Growing, and Proud of It

Day 154: Teaching is often an exercise in delayed gratification. You might struggle with a child for months, only to have him or her come around in June and say, “Thank you.” Given that, when the wins are big and obvious and staring you in the face, you embrace them.

IEP meetings are not typically tons of fun. They are meetings focused on an objective, which makes them more streamlined and purposeful than most meetings. However, that purpose is inherently daunting – how to support a student who struggles in at least one area due to disability.

Wednesday, however, was the most positive IEP meeting I’ve ever been a part of. The team present couldn’t stop talking about the student’s growth. I, for one, after two years of clumsily offering half-relevant insights, felt like I finally knew how to share helpful comments and perspectives.

Toward the end, the student himself was brought in. He was told that given how much leadership he’d been showing, he deserved to be in the meeting, and to give his opinions. Beaming, he shared with his mom his mantra of the year: To be a leader, on and off the basketball court. I later found out he’d sought out his fourth grade teacher and told her how cool it was to have a big bunch of teachers gushing over how much he’d grown.

Growth is always to be celebrated. But growth in both academic skill and leadership ability, combined with a student taking legit pride in that growth … Well, that’s pretty much the dream.

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