mathinaz

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 25 2011

Wrapped Gifts

I had a student on a behavior contract, but we were having trouble thinking of a reward for perfect completion of the contract. Did she want me to bring her lunch? Special class seating? A Saturday activity somewhere? Homework passes? She kept insisting she wasn’t sure, but she was excited about the contract anyway.

 

When she got through a whole week with unbelievably perfect behavior, I pushed her again on what she wanted. It took her another two days to think of something, but finally she came up with it.

 

She came to me after class and shyly said, “We can’t really get presents for Christmas this year. For my reward, do you think you could give me a Christmas present?”

 

My heart melted a little. A present for Christmas, when she wasn’t going to get any? I would love to do that.

 

She hesitated a moment after I agreed, and then got up the courage to add one last thing – the part she really wanted. It turns out it wasn’t the actual gift she was yearning for, but the experience. As if she were asking the impossible, she looked up at me and said, “Ms. Mathinaz, could it be wrapped?”

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Grade
Middle School

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