I Believe in You
I was delighted to find out Mark* would be in my class this year. Even before I met him I knew he’d be one of my favorite students ever. Don’t ask me why, I just felt it. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. He is a really wonderful and intelligent boy who suffers from attention deficit disorder. It was very difficult for him to focus in class and he was quite reluctant to study. This was the reason Mark had a poor performance at school.
Although we connected right from the start, the first months were somehow difficult. He’d behave really badly. He was also quite untidy and he kept forgetting things. He didn’t have many friends, so he’d stay with me during break time. We’d just talk and play together. It made me feel so sad that I was really determined to help him. I promised myself I would never give up on him.
Although, I understood what he was going through I must admit it was hard not to get mad at him sometimes, but he’d always look at me and give me the biggest smile. One day he said to me: “I know I can be difficult at times, but I love you” and I realized something inside him was changing. I told him that I knew he could do better if he tried hard and that I’d be there to help him. I was surprised when he said he couldn’t, but I insisted and said: “I believe in you, Mark“. Those words seemed to have made a great impact on him. After that day, his attitude slowly began to change. I had talked with his parents several times and decided to work together to help him. So, we kept sending notes to each other; we’d write about his attitude, his behavior and performance. His family really supported him no matter what.
As days went by, he started studying a bit harder and completing his assignments on time. What’s more, his neatness also began to improve. To my surprise, his handwriting got much clearer. His effort to get better was really inspiring. All his classmates began to support him too, some of them were even inspired to try harder thanks to him.
One day, I got to school and found Mark crying. He was absolutely devastated. He explained to me that he was having serious problems in his Spanish lessons, he thought he would be held back a year. I tried to comfort him and stayed with him for a while. “I believe in you”, I said to him once again. That same day, was our last class before Children’s Day and I gave each of my students a chocolate bar and a card with the message “Believe in Yourself” written on it. After Mark read his card, he looked at me tearfully and said: “this is exactly what I needed to hear“… I was so moved by his words. What a fantastic child! I was sure he’d be surprising us even more before the end of the school year.
Mark kept making great progress, he started to underline titles, he even started to use colors and he finally got his folder organized! What’s more, Mark’s performance on the rest of the tests was great. His parents kept supporting and encouraging him too. He has such a beautiful family!
Mark is really passionate about technology. Writing a blog was exactly what he needed. So much has blogging helped him! He’s one of the most active and creative bloggers in the class. Mark also loves music. He has blogged about his favorite bands and songs quite a lot. He became one of our Singing Fridays stars. He has such an incredible voice. Everybody loves to listen to him sing. Blogging and singing in front of our class helped Mark discover how talented he was.
Let me tell you, things have changed so much for Mark… He has gained so much confidence and he has become a great student. What’s more he is a leader now. Everybody wants to play with him, they keep asking him for help and advice.
These last two months, his behavior has totally changed too. He is actually much quieter and focused in class. I rarely have to call for his attention now. So amazing is his change that he’ll be awarded a diploma for his effort and achievement.
Mark started believing in himself, he just needed someone to believe in him and showed him they cared. Working together with his parents has been essential during this process too. It was a team effort. When trying to help a kid, we need to get parents involved. This has made such a difference for Mark.
I have written my thoughts on the importance of connecting with students and loving them no matter what. I know it can be difficult at times… but these kids need us, these kids are waiting for someone to believe in them and to show them we care. We must never give up on them, even if we don’t get to see any results right away. I’m a teacher to reach out for all my students and help them realize that each of them is an exceptional kid. I’m a teacher to help my students believe in themselves and flourish. Thank you Mark, for reminding me this every day…
* not his real name