I have this one kid who I really like. He's sweet and cute and goofy. He's not the sharpest pencil in the pencil box and everyone knows it, but he's the poster child for that teacher motto that everyone is smart in their own way. The poor kid couldn't spell his way out of a paper bag if his life depended on it, he's got some real language learning issues and his parents won't get him tested (a whole other topic). But, the kid has some serious bass guitar skills and has perfect comic timing. He's pretty easy going and usually lets it roll off him with his classmates laugh at him for his misunderstandings and short comings. But there are those days where it does bug him and he starts to get down. This morning was one of those days. As they were laughing at him, I saw him pulling inside himself. I could tell it was bugging him. It was during our independent reading and writing time at the start of class, so as the kids settled down into their writing, X just sat there scribbling on his paper.
I wrote him a little encouraging note, and walked over and placed it on his desk. He read it, tucked it into his writer's notebook, turned the page, and started writing. Later I got to see what he'd written. It was a note thanking me for my note and telling me that it had made him feel better. Neither of us ever said another word about it, which is fine. What more needs to be said?
If I helped one 8th grader remember, even for just a little while, that he is valuable it was a good day.