I Celebrate the Steps in the Journey

image from icanread

All year he has been working on turning work in.  You know the kid, he has it done but it somehow never makes it into your hands until hours later.  Or he has it done but can’t seem to find it, but then finds it a week later stuck to another piece of paper.  The sheepish grin, the mumbled excuse.  The confused look when I say I haven’t received it.  Yes, it still counts, yes, I believe you when you say it’s done, yes, you still need to get it done.I celebrate this kid today.

She has been using her time well but can never seem to finish.  She leaves her books behind and then mumbles apologies when she gets there in the morning.  She intends to finish but life seems to get in the way.  She gets it but then she didn’t.  I celebrate that kid today.

Not for their lack of completion.  Not for their lack of organization.  Not for their lack of “just do it-ness.”  But for the steps they have taken toward their goal.  That girl never used to let me know it wasn’t done.  That boy never realized it wasn’t done until I told him before.  But now?  They have taken steps to own the problem.  They have taken steps to fix it.  While they have not reached their goal, they are working on it.  And that is something I intend to celebrate.

Every journey starts with a step.  Too often we forget to cheer the kids on who are trying their hardest, sure, they may not be there yet, but it is still important for them to see we notice the effort, we notice their motivation, we notice their change.  While I will break out the big celebration when they have accomplished their goal a quick compliment or thumbs up will only make their journey smoother.  Sometimes all a kid needs is just another push, another reminder, and another smile.  Yes, I see your change.  Yes, I see you try.  Yes, it matters and so do you.

3 thoughts on “I Celebrate the Steps in the Journey”

  1. Ah, I have so many of those students this year and was thinking only last week that I am beginning to see those small steps, the movement towards becoming more responsible and self-regulatory! And as such I have been doing just as you indicate, letting students know that I see it, that it matters and that they do too!
    Many of these children have not been expected to be independent or sometimes there are circumstances beyond their control that need to be considered as we set expectations. One size does not fit all students! Being a supportive teacher often means being flexible. 🙂

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