30 March 2012


During my third year of teaching, I taught fifth grade science. It was probably my best year of teaching. I love ALL of my students, but my kiddos that year were just...so incredible. I have a soft spot in my heart for my students who struggle academically but work so, so hard, and Rivers was one of those students. Rivers was in my school's special education program, and at first, he would sit in my classroom silently. A month or two into the school year, he started walking by my classroom on his way to the bathroom from other classes and making a funny little face and the "ok" signal with his thumb and pointer finger and wiggling it back and forth in the window of my classroom door to say hi. After a few more months, he began participating in class, especially after I began letting him draw his responses to questions because he couldn't write. All along, he knew the answers; he just didn't know how to express his knowledge before being able to draw. (Side note: I know that drawing his responses was not a permanent solution, so we also worked on his writing skills during homeroom and silent reading time. But I had to start somewhere and get some gauge of his understanding of science.)

Each year, as we approached our TAKS state test time, we would hold Saturday school to help the kids review the content and skills that they were still having trouble with. Rivers attended all of my after school and Saturday tutorials. A few weeks before the TAKS, Rivers and I had a funny conversations:

"Rivers, are you coming to Saturday school this weekend?"
"Nombre-na, Miss, nombre-na!" [No way, Miss, no way!]
"Rivers, why not? TAKS is coming up and you're so close to passing!"
"Becos, Miss, I gotta go to the March par Christ, March par Christ, jeah! Jeah!" he replied while sort of rocking/dancing back and forth rhythmically while clapping his hands.

I wish I had a video of this event, because the way he sort of bopped back and forth as he exclaimed about going to the March par Christ (an annual evangelical rally that takes place in Rio Grande City) was just precious and hilarious, and it's impossible to convey in words. Absolutely everyone I've re-enacted this convo for has burst out laughing.

Fortunately, Rivers decided to show up on Saturday after all. (Turns out, March par Christ was an afternoon event.) After Saturday school let out, we both went over the March Par Christ. I mean, after that endorsement, how could I not go?!

You may be wondering how Rivers did on his TAKS test. He got commended, which means that he missed three or fewer questions! So proud of him. When I told him about his achievement, he replied, "I got commend?" So sweet.

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