I recently completed a 10 week stint teaching in a school that is a repository for the city's violent pre-teens. I gradually lured them towards the experience of a productive classroom using fun activities, trinkets and stickers, firm guidance and oodles of encouragement. They were young enough to warm to a teacher who does not berate or mock them. I feel lucky to have met and worked with them and am sad to let them go.
One student in particular has a severe speech impediment. It was not an impediment to his zest for life and communication though. He confided about his family, telling how it is for him at home, about his Dad being stabbed and that his Mum was only happy when she was really drunk. Kids have a way of telling it like it is when they can see someone is listening. I learned a lot from them about how this is done.
It was hard work for me, with loads of trial, error and tears. The satisfaction in teaching for me is in witnessing connections and progress made. I saw troubled kids getting along with each other, having a go at learning their times tables and even start to enjoy being in a classroom.
Farewell dear students, you have taught me well.