What Really Matters

Today I was sitting at my desk as my Language Arts class was working on creating plot lines for novels they were reading. My classroom is normally very vocal and today was no exception. One girl in particular is more vocal than the rest and has an incredibly “bubbly” personality. She is the student in my class that wants to talk to everyone, help everyone, and be a ray of positive vibes in the classroom. I cannot think of one single time this year when I have not seen a smile on her face.

During class she was up working at a desk near me and I asked her if she acted like this in all of her classes. She replied, “nope.” This kind of caught me off a guard a bit because I just assumed she was like this all the time. I then asked her why she acted that way in my classroom. Her response was, “because I feel safe and comfortable in here.”

This actually took me back a bit and caused me a momentary bit of reflection. Here was this kid who obviously was the social butterfly of my classroom and this was apparently due to the environment of the classroom. I know that I try to make my classroom a fun and inviting place but I never expected a kid to actually articulate the fact that they felt safe and comfortable in it. Of course I would hope all of my students would say this, but it’s not something kids often verbalize.

With that being said, it reminded me of what is truly important in school. If that girl only remembers the safety and comfort of that class and the fact that she could be herself, then I have succeeded as her teacher. Regardless of what writing style she excels at, or how many vocabulary words she learns, I will be proudest in the fact that she could be herself in my room. This also made me think of the students that are not as outgoing. Are they simply shy kids or are they not on that same level of comfort? How do I make sure every kid feels the same way as “Bubbly Betty”? The ways kids feel is more important than any piece of curriculum they will learn and we need to remind ourselves of that fact…

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