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The enchanted child

One of the most gratifying aspects of teaching is the process of identifying what strategies work best. Much of it is trial and error, but the majority is simple classroom common sense.

The most obvious indications of success are the responses I receive from my kids. Many of them, especially the youngest, will directly and descriptively say what they like or don’t like.

I like your nails. I like your hair. I like that you bring us candy. I like talking to you. I like listening to you. I think you’re smart.

It goes on from there. What they cannot articulate is that I feel it is imperative to speak to them as if they are intelligent human beings. They are. And the best proof of their understanding my respect for them is the enchanted child.

Virtually every day that I teach, I experience a magical child. This is usually a boy but now and then the magical child is a girl. It continues to amaze me that almost every class has one.

This child will tug on my sleeve or tap me on the arm. Next, he or she will ask a question or make an observation or volunteer information. In each case, the enchanted child will deliver a silent hug, the first of three or seven or twelve throughout the day. Child will express love or advise that I am the best substitute or best teacher in the world.

Somehow, it’s never occurred to me to ask why the student feels this way. During childhood years, the process of articulating many emotions is underdeveloped or completely absent. More importantly, I never want a student to feel pressured to justify feelings.

The most wonderful part is that I never know who the mystery pupil will be nor do I know what will cause him or her to materialize. By this time, I’m convinced that this is one student who transforms each morning from yesterday’s class to today’s.

It’s supernatural and fantasy and as pure fabrication as it sounds. But how else could multiple classrooms create so many princes and princesses? Shalom.

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