Be Their Champion

Words have the power to change the world.

I was lurking on Twitter last night and stumbled upon this tweet from Dr. Justin Tarte, “Find a kid tomorrow whom you might think can’t be trusted. Give them a task & put your trust in them. Give them the opportunity to shine.”

And that statement made my heart feel all warm inside, so I liked it and moved on with my night.

Today, our curriculum team had the opportunity to go through John Spencer’s Launch Cycle with a group of 6th-grade students. The students were challenged to design their common learning space. They were thrilled and in disbelief that their ideas would actually be considered and that their school would actually be “buying the stuff.” During this process, a student who I will call Adam stood out.

Adam was struggling to stay on task. He struggled to stay in the designated area where his group was working. He struggled to treat others with respect and kindness. Adam was on the struggle bus.

I got to thinking, “How can I help Adam?” Dr. Tarte’s tweet flew into my brain. So, I started giving Adam jobs. When I needed papers passed out, Adam was my go-to guy. When I needed help giving each student sticker dots, Adam was my trusted helper. I even said, “Adam, it is VERY important that each person receives only two dots.” Adam took his jobs very seriously. Between the stages of this process, Adam rose to the occasion on EVERY job that I gave him. And the further we worked through the process, the more I caught Adam committing to the learning experience. By the end of it, he was suddenly immersed in the magic of it all. He even took on the role of leader in his group. Adam had quite literally behaved his way into believing he was a leader.

As we packed up to leave, I told Adam, “You know. I’m really glad I got to meet you. You impressed me today.”

And his reply melted my heart. He asked, “Are you a 7th-grade teacher?” I explained that I wasn’t and told him a little bit about what I do. Then, I inquired, “Why do you ask?”

“Because I was hoping you would be my teacher next year.”

As Rita Pierson says, “Every child deserves a champion.”

Thank you for the reminder, Dr. Justin Tarte.