I just typed an email to a friend and I realized what I wrote to her was something I wanted to be sure to remember. Hence, I'm typing it here where it will be published into our book of memories.
I have really enjoyed seeing Kendra as a student and not just my kid. I'm so grateful to my principal for the complete support in being able to be her teacher this year. This is a tremendous opportunity! Here's what I knew about "School Kendra" before this year: she is a good student, tries really hard, is a "teacher pleaser", is well-liked in her class, kids recognize her as a "good kid" by picking her for things like student of virtue and other honors (those things are usually voted upon by peers). She has lots of friends, but usually has only one close friend.
Here's what I have learned about "School Kendra" by being her teacher. She is still a good student and tries hard. She is like most kids and makes mistakes, and she does have to work for her good grades. She is not one of those kids that "gets it" off the bat ALL the time, although she does most of the time. A funny thing I've learned is that she is long-winded! When she raises her hand I have to be prepared for an elaborated answer, to the point that I've devised a system with her that I've used with similar kids like her in the past. I tell her that she gives me a whole plate of spaghetti when I'm really only looking for one noodle. The code, if she gets too elaborative, is "One noodle, Kendra!"
I've confirmed that she is very well respected by her peers. When I met with the kids at the beginning of the year (I sent Kendra to another class for this), I talked to them about having Kendra in class and if they ever felt like I was favoring her or anything they should come to me. I said something along the lines of, "Kendra is a pretty good kid", and one of my students jumped right in and said, "Yeah, Kendra has never, ever, never gotten in trouble at school. Never!"
Here's the coolest thing I've noticed. While Kendra is a friend to everyone, I would say that she is not in what most would deem the "popular" crowd. She is friends with the popular kids, to be sure. You know the ones; the cheerleaders, the ones wearing the most stylish clothes, the ones going ga-ga over Justin Bieber or the latest pop star boy. But Kendra is just enough different that she isn't in the heart of that in-crowd. She hangs out with them at times, and she likes them all, but she doesn't live or die over what they think or what they are doing that she isn't doing. Her close friends are usually the quieter ones, the ones that think like her. And to be honest, if I could choose the path for her to take, this would be it. I like how this looks for the future if this is the road she continues to travel.
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