A student of mine this year, I will call her Ashley, is a wonderful young lady, confident, and has lots of friends. She is a good student athlete and volunteers in our school's Autism room as part of a class. Ashley has never been a Student of the Week throughout her middle school years and I overheard her mention it to classmates a few weeks ago. (She wasn't complaining, just more a statement of fact.) I'd meant to make her a student of the week several times during the year for various reasons but hadn't remembered to.
I needed to make this a priority during her last week of Middle School, submitted a certificate for her, and was looking forward to seeing her expression when her name was called. (She was in my class during announcements.) Ashley ended up surprising me first, though, and this is one of the reasons I teach.
When the student of the week announcement began I looked over to Ashley's table and observed her. The first name announced was the name of a student that isn't as popular as Ashley is. This student is more of a typical middle school student: someone who is struggling to feel confident. Ashley's response to this announcement reaffirmed my opinion of her.
Ashley could've remained silent and the moment would've passed. Instead, she was genuinely happy for him and let the classmates at her table know she was glad he got an award. I was so touched by her unselfish attitude and leadership. Her reaction made hearing her name called shortly afterward even more special for me. I saw a look of pride come over her as she let it sink in. Ashley left the room to get her award and I blinked back a tear or two. :)
When Ashley returned (she would now know that I gave her the award) I figured she'd thank me. She instead walked right into the room and gave me a hug.
I will miss this group of 8th Graders but I am very confident that they will, especially with leaders like Ashley, continue to take care of the people in their world. I'm fortunate that I get to be part of moments like this. This is #WhyITeach.