As teachers we spend hours each week attempting to plan engaging lessons that every child in our class will learn something from. We try our best to reach the minds of students achieving on all levels of the spectrum. Of course, we want to believe that every student is listening to every minute of what we say, and they will remember this knowledge in the future. However, we have to take a step back and remember they are just kids. If they can store even 75% of what we teach them in their brain for the future, we have done our job!

One of my favorite days in the fall of a new school year is when I get to have a guest teacher in my room all day, giving me the chance to spend 15-20 minutes, one-on-one, getting to know my students as readers. Not only do I learn a lot about their reading comprehension, but also student’s reading habits, and about their interests inside and outside of school.

There is one student in my class who has an adult with him 24/7. This adult helps with his behavioral needs, while I am still in charge of his academic learning and growth. This student spends a lot of time outside of the classroom in order to help stay regulated. When he is in the classroom he won’t come up to the meeting area to sit with the other kids. He sits at his desk and is usually drawing or has his head down.

When it was this students turn to have one-on-one time with me, he lit right up. He was glowing with happiness and was very excited to show me his reading skills. While asking him comprehension questions at the end of the running record he said something that totally surprised me. “Well Miss Siracusa, this character has a flexible attitude in this story” he smiled, “you know, flexible…that’s our word of the week!”

My heart leaped out of my chest. Wow. Even though this kid is in a state of total emotional regulation, he is still listening. You never fully know your impact on students. Keep trying, keep moving along. Although this was a very small success story, it helped me to realize that this student is accessible, it is my job to continue to go out of my way to keep him engaged in our classroom learning. It’s moments like these that remind us how wonderful it is to be a teacher.

Please share exciting moments similar to this in the comments below. We all love to hear student success stories!