The worst part about having a student teacher in the room is that I miss my kids. I'm not there every period to find out what's going on with their lives, to listen to them chatter, to just be there and enjoy the silliness (and oftentimes frustration) that comes with your average seventh grader.
I am getting a bit of a kid fix by working the discipline referrals. Often times these kids just want someone to listen to their side of the story (which is sometimes highly amusing and creative). The fact that they have your undivided attention is not lost on these kids. The sixth graders, in particular, will spill their guts and go on and on and on their lives, inside and outside of school. The counseling part I truly enjoy. Sadly, there are some teachers in The Building who aren't particularly patient and who write referrals for things that I'd never even consider writing a referral for, so a lot of what I've done is counsel and warn the kids not to do it again. (I'm sure I'm going to hear about it too, but hey, In School Suspension is full and detention isn't far behind..what's a girl to do? Toss them under a bus?)
Yesterday, our "Friday" since we have the rest of the week off for the Thanksgiving Holiday, I was out in the hallway by my room when they dismissed kids for the buses. Truth be told, I kind of just wanted to wish a lot of them a nice few days off from school.
I was standing there when Studious Girl walked up to me and give me a big hug and put her head on my shoulder. This surprised me a great deal because Studious Girl has maybe said all of a dozen words all year and is one of the most silent kids I've ever known. She's in my homeroom, and although she's a pretty good student, it's because she works so hard at it. She doesn't talk - to anyone - and if she has any friends, I couldn't tell you who they are. I always make a point of trying to draw her out in the mornings when she comes into homeroom, by asking her how her morning is, but the most I usually get is a smile.
And today I got a hug.
"What's this for?" I asked her, although I suspected I knew. A lot of my kids have been whining about "when are you coming back?". They like Mr. T, but they want "School Mom" back in the room.
Studious Girl just looked up at me and smiled.
"Is it because you miss me?" I asked her and she nodded her head and smiled again.
"Well I miss you too," I told her, "and I'll be back soon."
She beamed, hugged me again, grabbed her bookbag and headed for the buses.
Wow. Not a word, but volumes were in that smile and her big brown eyes.
Good Lord, I'm thankful for kids like her. It makes it worth it.