Project Graduation

So here I sit trying to figure out what to slice about.  Many thoughts considered, discarded, thoughts for another day, another mood. 

I have a student with me who is working hard at catching up on a quarter’s worth of missing work.  He, for reasons not really clear, chose not to participate in his education for most of this school year.  Highly intelligent but he chose to quit working.  As the year progressed phone calls home and meetings were held to discuss what to do. 

I implemented Project Graduation.  I decided to keep him and a few others after school three days a week for 45 minutes.  The first few weeks were quite a challenge.  They were not very pleased about the new extended day.  I had complaints, defiance,& super slow moving shuffle of papers.  I had some progress but some increase in uncooperative and disruptive behaviors.  One day, one of the students became more disruptive than usual, I decided that he needed to work separately and I took him to the office where he would work by himself.  He stomped his feet, a large overgrown two year old tantrum.  I called his parents to let them know the new arrangements and the reasons why. 

For the next two weeks this student would come to my office to get his assignment, only he wouldn’t speak to me.  He asked the other students to ask me for his work.  I played along, if being angry at me served as his motivation to work, that was all good with me.  Finally one day the other students were both absent and he came to get his work..and stayed.  He worked, he laughed, he smiled.   We checked his grades and he was almost passing everything, he smiled more, he stood taller, straighter.  His papers were organized, his behavior in class was better, he was happy. 

Today I sat and tried to think about what to write as he sat here and worked, I told him about the writers challenge and that I couldn’t decide what to write.  He said “write about me and how you helped me so I can graduate”  He had a huge smile on his face.  He didn’t say the words thank you, he didn’t have to, the acknowledgement that I helped was more than enough for me.  The year is not over yet and graduation still hangs in the balance, but I’m confident the project is a success

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8 Responses to Project Graduation

  1. peteacher1 says:

    That’s wonderful! What an impact you have had on this boy that you won’t forget for a lifetime! I liked that you played along with him, but didn’t hold a grudge when he decided he was “ready.”

  2. tsudmeier says:

    You are so dedicated to the students. That child will never forget what you did for him- one person making a huge difference!

  3. creech33 says:

    This is all the reason to get up and go work in the morning, isn’t it? You’re definitely in their lives for a reason, and you’ve probably helped more of them than you even know. Your voice is always so subtle in your writing, but it’s there and it’s so you.

  4. Lmhteach says:

    It didn’t take you long to get back into the swing of things in the junior high. You won’t know the amount of lives you’ve touched, but it’s nice when it becomes obvious, like with this lucky 8th grader. Give yourself that pat on the back. 🙂

  5. peanutrwco says:

    Awww, that one touched my heart. What a great moment with him. He’ll remember how much you helped him for life.

  6. bbutler627 says:

    Neighbor, I wondered about your after school clubs. They always seem so intent on something, even if it’s not wanting to do whatever the task was. We need people like you to keep doing this. Love the name “Project Graduation” as both your initiative and the title!

  7. runningfancy says:

    Through the simplicity of your words, I can totally hear your voice, feel your thoughts, and envision the slow shuffling of papers. What a great slice!

  8. nmjoy24 says:

    Wow. A smile really is worth a thousand words!!!

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