Saturday, August 27, 2016

High Fives and Hugs

Last year my intervention class wasn’t worth any school credits, although a required part of each of my student's Individual Education Plans.  I quickly learned I had to find ways to motivate my high school students.  I started weekly trivia that earned them points towards semester pizza parties and then everyone earned “Candy Fridays”


I worked hard last year advocating for my students, and now they get a well deserved credit for my class. This year I decided to eliminate “Candy Friday” for two reasons.  
  1. They’re now getting their credit
  2. Selfishly, I don’t want the candy around me.


This week a student, J, walked in said, “It’s Candy Friday!”


“Sorry J, we’re not doing Candy Friday this year.  How about High Fives and Hugs instead?”


After a little stare…


“That’s cool.  You know, I haven’t been hugged since, like, elementary school.”


“Yeh, most teachers don’t hug after elementary school, huh?”


J laughs and says, “No, I mean by anyone.  You know my dad doesn’t do that stuff”


J is an 18 year old student who struggles with reading and writing.  He lives with dad, uncle and twin brother.  They moved here when he was in 8th grade from Kenya.   His mother is still there. J struggles with making the right decisions and he makes some pretty bad ones unfortunately.

Yes, J needs the educational support that we provide him, but he needs so much more.  He needs support, care, and someone to guide and cheer him on. There are many students in our buildings exactly like him.  Are we doing EVERYTHING we can to ensure that we’re meeting their needs? What will each of us do to look for and support the Js in our buildings?

Yes, J got a hug as he left on Friday.

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