Friday, October 12, 2012

Dear Alice, I'll be your mirror. Love, Ms. Amy

Dear Alice,

You are a wonder. At five years old you are in many respects the center of this classroom universe. Last January when you were moved to my room mid year from a neighboring classroom, you quite literally burst onto the scene, and changed everything. Alice you are an event, a force of nature, a brilliant anxious sweetness. And since the very first time I met you, when you screamed in the public bathroom because you were so worried about the automatic flush going off before you sat down on the toilet, (and I helped you change your wet clothes) I wanted to be able to help you, to ease your fears of the loud sounds, and all things out of your control.

Before there can be learning, there must be trust, a safe base established for you to venture out from. Last year, I carried you everywhere. I felt like it was important to stay close to you, to help you manage your new environment like I would a much younger child. I was consistent, I was thoughtful, and I stayed calm even when you screamed, hit and kicked at me when you were upset. With the implementation of a consistent behavior plan to help you with your tantrums and aggression (which our Behavior Analyst crafted to help you),  and with the the support of your family, you have been learning to calm down on your own. And yet, the use of the public restroom at school was still sending you into a tailspin of anger, tears, and screaming.

 After weeks of your distress permeating each part of your day, and your cries and screams ringing in all of our ears I realized that you are five! You know how to use the toilet. You know how to control your bowels, and you are also very capable of telling me that you need to go on your own. We had a little talk you and I. I told you the new plan and asked you if we had a deal. "DEAL!" When I ask if you need to use the bathroom you tell me, "No Pee, No Bathroom!" very clearly, and I tell you that I believe you.

 I am in awe of your ability to adapt, to change, to grow, and to trust that you will be okay, even if you don't know what is going to happen next.

 Each day, you are more confident, you try new things that you never tried before. Now? I see you walking into the room every morning with a happy joyful spring. You sit next to me at circle time instead of in my lap.  You made a craft project for the first time ever, on your own. Last week I saw you reach for a peers hand while walking. When you hold a baby doll close to your chest and come to me to re wrap the doll in a blanket, I think about last year, when you would stand in the dramatic play area for a few moments pretending to cook. Today you shared space with several peers block building. You said "No blocks please" when I offered you one, but you didn't walk away. I built a small tower, that looked like a chair. You tried to sit on it, and when it fell down? You didn't scream, you tried it again. A few moments later I watched you build a tower on your own for the first time ever. You giggled watching your peers. I am so proud of you.

 When you are upset or worried you scream "It's okay! While clapping your hands and looking to me for confirmation. I want you to know that I have complete faith in your ability to move through your difficult emotions. Alice you can be worried, and upset, and angry when things don't go your way, but now you are learning you can be safe,  successful and you can try new things. I am privileged to be your teacher as you turn six, as you find your feet, your voice in this classroom world.

There will still be times when you may ask me to pick you up, when you need a quiet moment of calm togetherness. You are worth every second I have spent structuring the day and my thoughts around your learning. We recently lined up with your peers to run with all the other kids in the school. You were scared, you were nervous, you clung to me and cried. I told you you could do it? And you did. You ran, happily. I see you Alice. You are brave, you are strong, you Alice, are okay. 

Ms. Amy

No comments:

Post a Comment