The Little Engine that Could

I started out my day in an AttorneyPoloozaFest 2008 IEP meeting in which everyone blames everyone else for the child’s difficulties. Not exactly the Monday I was looking for after last week’s desire for early retirement.

But in the afternoon, the School Psychology Gods shone upon me and infused me with some hope that I can do this for 25 years.

I used to work with this little 2nd grade boy last year who was having major behavioral difficulties. He would yell out profanity, trip other kids, refuse to do work, call the teacher names, and rip up his work. I don’t think he ever earned recess all year. I observed him in his 3rd grade class this afternoon and he was a different child. He was engaged with his small group and doing well. His teacher reported she didn’t have any concerns about him.

At recess, I asked him how he was doing, and he said, “Great!” with a glowing face o’ enthusiasm for learning. He said, “Guess what? I don’t play video games anymore, I like to study and learn a lot now. I want to be the first 3rd grader to take classes at UC Berkeley! Do you think I can do that?” I told him that it was great to see him so excited about learning. When I asked what helped him like school so much, he said, “Every day, even at recess, I just told myself, don’t be bad at school, don’t be bad at school, don’t be bad at school. Then I got on the honor roll and my dad took me to Marine World and it was the best day of my life!”

Holy cuteness, batman. It’s worth a try. I can do this for 25 years, I can do this for 25 years, I can do this for 25 years…

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