One of the things I like about teaching kids is the "turn-around." The turn-around is whenever a major positive change happens.
Of course turn-arounds that happen in an hour are the most dramatic and very gratifying, but gradual ones put a big smile on my face just the same.
Today for example, I had one student who did not want to come to class. She regularly tries to get out of it, but today she couldn't. She was focused in class, worked on all the projects I gave her, and eagerly showed me each one as she finished. For her last drawing, she drew a flower which she signed and addressed to me.
After class she sought me out to ask when she'd have art again.
I was so happy.
This isn't the only story I have like this. I've gotten kids to go from crying to grinning ear to ear by the end of a class period. I've had students excited to see their work and how far they've come from the beginning of term until that point. I've seen kids turn from hoodlums to polite and eager students. Each is a victory. Each is a celebration.
These moments in time may seem small. But I remember being a child. I remember the mentors and teachers who touched my heart and made a difference to me.
I don't know how my time with these children will change them. I don't know what seeds have been planted or if they will grow throughout these students' lives. What I do know is that at least for a moment, they can express themselves, and have a little success in a non-academic way. Whatever that's worth, I'll take it.