Magical Teaching Moments – Share a Little Love

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You know what I was thinking about this week? Those little magical teaching moments. Sometimes they are so small and seemingly insignificant that they almost pass you by. Those moments that (if you are sappy enough like me…) can maybe even bring a little tear to your eye. These are the moments that get us through. They get us through the dirty diapers, the shin kicks, the scratches, and the tantrums. They get us through the 4 hour IEP meetings, the endless stack of paperwork, and the never ending runny noses. Those little moments remind us why went into teaching and why choose to work with this population. To almost anyone else – these moments we cherish might seem like nothing – but to us – they are absolutely everything.

On my hardest and most exhausting day, I sometimes force myself to think back to these moments. Before I drown my sorrows and frustrations into a bowl of chocolate ice cream and a glass of red wine (healthy, I know…), I try this quick pick me up. I remind myself of these small slivers of perfection within my job. Another one could be just around the corner.

Like I said, I often feel like almost nobody else understands these moments. I remember my first year teaching racing home to tell my roommate that one of my students had finally, finally mastered the color orange. After weeks of hard work. I was so freaken proud of myself and him. Her response – “oh he didn’t know his colors?” Ugh.

Since we are all in the same boat – I would LOVE to hear some of your great teaching moments. I literally squeal in excitement at some of your awesome emails – so let’s share the love. We are all in that mid spring stalemate and I think it could revive us all a bit πŸ™‚

So please – Β indulge my corniness and overly sentimental ways and share one of your little magical teaching moments! πŸ™‚Β 

21 Comments

  1. Oh I know exactly what you mean! I feel the same way! In the end, its so worth it!!

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  2. I have 2 that happened in the last couple of weeks.
    1) I had a 10 year old student at the computer. He was working on the alphabet on http://www.starfall.com then the para engraved a letter into play dough. She asked him what letter it was and he answered correctly and he went back to where he left off on the computer. Multitasking!!
    2)A 6 year old nonverbal student did not want to work. He said “I don’t want to work!” He went to the calming corner himself, cried for awhile, got himself composed and went back to the table and did his work.

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  3. I just started working with this boy in Jan. he is nonverbal autistic 1st grader. It has been a hard year for him…I was his third teacher this year….all not his fault. A different teacher brought him to his classroom and started his routine. I went over and said “hi”. He grabbed my arm, pulled me close to him and looked me right in the eyes. I felt like he was connecting with me and expressing how happy he was I was there. That total makes it worth it.

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  4. Magical Teaching Moments… these are what I live for? I have a newer student who my staff and I are still trying to figure out. He is non-verbal and dependent on staff for most daily tasks (or so his IEP says). This week, I have instructed my staff to step back and let him show us who he is. On Tuesday, he took my staff’s arm while crying, ran out the door and took her to the bathroom. He then voided on the toilet with a dry pull-up. His IEP stated that he needs to be closely monitored because he tries to run away… clearly he is communicating he need something. Yesterday, he was upset and took my arm and ran to the cafeteria. He took me to the counter where we pick up our lunch… clearly he was hungry. THis little guy came from a school where they deemed him as a runner and kept him from communicating his needs. This moment I realized he was capable of so much more and was not intending to run away, he was telling us what he needed. This is a wake-up call to remember that not all IEP’s are well written and tell you how the student is. We must find out for ourselves who these children are.

    The Adventures of Room 83

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  5. I’ve had tons of these moments. My most memorable was an older echolalic student with no functional verbal communication. I had been using a communication device to teach requesting. Every day, I set up a worksheet activity and prompted him to select the correct button to request a pencil. He was getting independent with this activity and had been coming to the table, pushing the button and getting his pencil, but one day he started to push the button, then looked up at me and said “I need a pencil.” That was a wonderful year because by the end of that year, he was talking in full sentences and even initiated a three turn conversation with me about the weather!

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  6. Thank you for posting this! It’s so true that the little moments mean so much. My student with ASD who wears hearing aids was able to tell me recently that her FM wasn’t working and she couldn’t hear. She’s not been able to reliably do that with any consistency until now. She also explained pretty calmly that she’s afraid if balloons when her homeroom teacher brought one out for a science lesson. These are big reasons for celebration!

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  7. Love this. . .
    Moment that stands out above the rest – I had a kiddo who was nonverbal and had no form of communication when I got him. I introduced a modified PECs book with him that had pages for things like food, chairs to sit, people, and a page for colors. He was using it, but not spontaneously. One day, I was eating red hots. He walked up to me and stuck out his hand. I told him no, these were mine (don’t know why I was being so mean, eating in front of kiddos and not sharing – I would normally NEVER do this, must have been a pre-ordained interaction). He went to his book and flipped to the snacks page. Red Hots were not there, so he slammed the book shut. He then flipped through it again, slammed it shut. After a minute or two, he went back in and picked up the icon for “red” out of the color page!!!!!!!
    Of course, the kiddo got as many red hots as he wanted after that. This moment keeps me going when I’m going through trial after trial of communication training activities!!! πŸ™‚

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  8. I’ve just found your blog, and it-and you!-are incredible! Can yu come organise my classroom??

    I love those moments. They make every hard moment, and day, and week, worth it. Whether it’s an academic achievement, or a communication achievement, or a self care achievement, it doesn’t matter. I love my kids!!

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  9. I have a 5 year old, echolalic, very little functional communication. We have been working on the four letters in his name forever. Like, 6 months. The other day he came to a pocket chart, picked out each letter of his name, in sequence, and said the name of each letter. Oh, we had a party! That moment will get me through the scratches and refusal to do work for at least a couple months.

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  10. At the beginning of the year I got a new student that just came in as a 9th grader to our therapeutic day school from being at his home middle school. He would walk in, throw his backpack, cost whatever else on the floor and go right for a preferred activity in the break area. We weren’t sure if he really knew his name, he only responded if you said he name and this mentioned something preferred (outside, beads, etc.). He wears pull-ups and was often wet at the beginning of the year.
    Now, he stops at his locker and independently hangs up his coat and backpack, initiates on his iPad that he wants a strand of beads and responds to his name without us having to mention a preferred item!!! He drops a lot of things pretty often and just last week, he started picking the items up right away without a direction! We have had a handful of days where his pull-up is dry the whole day!! On to underwear soon!
    This student has come such a long way πŸ™‚ makes it all worth while!

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  11. Ahh – I love it! You have to respect a kiddo that can tell you what they want! πŸ™‚

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  12. Such a sweet story! Thank for sharing πŸ™‚

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  13. So true Melissa – you have to give kids the benefit of the doubt and not always take their old IEP as their limitations! Great story!

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  14. Omigosh that is a great story Roxanne! Thank you for sharing – that child is lucky to have you!

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  15. Wow – what a great story! I had a student the past few years who has autism and a profound hearing loss. He also had hearing aides. It was quite a challenge but definitely left me with many of these moments as his world was completely opened up by being able to finally hear!

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  16. Omigosh I love this story Erin! I love being surprised by my students PECS requests – sometimes they are just right on the money! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

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  17. Thank you so much for your sweet words!! And thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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  18. I had a very similar situation a few weeks ago when my kiddo FINALLY got his last name letters in the right order! It takes some time but it’s so worth it! Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

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  19. Wow! What a huge difference! He is so lucky to have you πŸ™‚

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  20. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post!! Often times, especially during this time of the year, we are are more than exhausted & ready for a much deserved break. I have so many of these “little moments” but one that stands out in my mind was during my first year of teaching. One of my students with limited verbal ability had a hard time identifying his letters, although he could spell his most preferred words pertaining to Disney movies πŸ™‚ By the end of the year he came up to me, tapped my on the shoulder showing me the magnetic letter board that he had spelled my name on. It still gives me goosebumps to think about πŸ™‚

    Enjoy the rest of your year, and thank you for all you do!

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  21. Awww! What a great story! Thank you for sharing Jessica! Have a great end of the year! πŸ™‚

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