A Goodbye Story

Meet J.
He likes to flip desks when he's angry.
He likes to hide from the hallway patrols for fun.
He likes to throw fits in my bathroom for missing ONE word on a spelling test.
He thinks punishments shouldn't apply to him.
He swears he never does anything wrong. Teachers lie you know.
He likes to break pencils. On purpose.
He likes to smile at me when I explain his consequences.
He storms out of class.
He's defiant.
He likes to talk back. He would make a great lawyer.
He likes to be the tough guy.
He's too cool for school.
He hangs out with the wrong crowd.
Have you ever had a J in your class?
I've had him for 2 years now. I looped with my kids.
He's been a challenge but I've learned more about what it means to be a teacher from that little boy than I ever did in college.
He's taught me to never give up. 
How to have patience and how to see past the exterior.
you see...
He's funny.
He's extremely bright. Top of my class.
Book smart, street smart, manipulative smart.
He's a perfectionist. To a fault.
He doesn't like to fail.
He has a heart of gold.
He gives the best hugs.
He always offers me his snack.
He writes me love notes. Often.
Last month one said, "If you ever need anything, just call me."
He picks me flowers from the school garden.
He helps kids up when they fall and passes tissues when they cry.
He makes lists of 101 reasons why I'm the best teacher in the world.
He drives me ab.solute.ly crazy and melts my heart all in the same day.
On Wednesday this week I was passing out stickers to the class before dismissal. I came to him and he shook his head no. He said, "I don't want a sticker. I'd rather have a hug."
Sometimes there's special children that really grab your teacher heart.
I want to save him.
From himself.
Save him from the anger that's holding so tightly onto him.
I've tried everything.
All I can do is love him and pray. Pray hard.
He moved schools on Friday.
I ran out of tissues.
He's a special little boy and the worst part of it all...I don't know if he truly knows that.
I pray he does.
I pray I made small a difference.
I pray his new teacher sees past the tough exterior.
I pray she sees his heart.
I pray that someone, somewhere out there reaches him and changes his life.


  1. Your story just made me tear up & I can't imagine how hard it is for you to lose him. I've had a "J" and while it was 12 years ago, he is still with me and I think of him often when I'm dealing with someone that needs just one more hug, one more praise, or just a little more patience. Thanks for sharing your story - and I KNOW he will always remember the teacher that loved him so much! I'll pray along with you that his next teacher finds the same potential in him.

    First Grade Fairytales

  2. OH I am sorry :( I have had a kiddo that was difficult at first but wins you over in spite of the difficulties. Those are the students that make you a better teacher because you have to leave your comfort zone, regular routine to lean new ways to deal with the behaviors. I worry about him and how he is doing after having for 2 years...I probably always will.

  3. I love this post. Thank you so much for writing it. It can be heartbreaking when a student you really love moves. I hope his next teacher is as good to him as you were.

    Across the Hall in 2nd Grade

  4. I think we've all had a "j". I pray that his new teacher realizes how special he is and loves on him :)

  5. I had two j's last year. It was a tough year but I am a better teacher because of them. Thanks for sharing your story.
    Adventures in Room 5

  6. What a sweet post! How lucky he has been to have a teacher like you. :) Lattes and Laughter

  7. I always worry when kids that have a place in my heart transfer out. I wonder if they will find themselves with another teacher who can see them like I do.
    Third Grade Tidbits

  8. I am so sorry...when a student touches your heart, even if they are not in your class or school anymore, they will be in your heart forever! Keeping you in my thoughts...
    Third Grade All Stars

  9. My J is now in 4th grade. I also had him for 2 years, by choice. The year he left me, he became a "runner" and was often seen running around outside with the office staff chasing him. The SRO officer was often called in & even the EMS once when he was being restrained. He has a very special place in my heart and has grown up so much in the past 2 years. He had many of the same qualities as your J and taught me so much.

  10. I am sure he knows how truely wonderful and caring you are. I have found in the past that the J's always come back for hugs and hellos because they NEED that connection. Prayers for you, your J and his new teacher.

    The Resourceful Apple

  11. I had a student like this last year - she got on my nerves and I cried some nights...then she would brighten my day when she tackled me for a hug. She broke so many things in my class, threw things, physically hit me and head butted me...but I LOVED her! I would have taken her home if I could have.

    I teach at a K-2 school, so this year she went to the intermediate school. I miss her, but hear she is doing well. Her younger sister brings me a letter every few weeks from her telling me that she is doing well and that she misses me.

    This is why I teach - to make a difference. I am sure that you made a difference in his life and he will remember you forever! I will be praying for him and you.

    Swinging Through Second Grade

  12. Oh wow your story just made me teary eyed. I feel your pain. You have made a great impact on him, and hopefully the next teacher will as well. Continue to touch lives and makes as many differences no matter the size. Teaching is the best!!!

  13. It makes it so much harder to let go of those kids because they're the ones that need a good teacher more than anything! Praying that both you and the student have a good transition!

    Don't Let The Teacher Stay Up Late

  14. Isn't it amazing how the ones who drive you the craziest are the ones who weasel their ways into your heart the furthest? It never fails to amaze me.

    I know I worry when my students go somewhere new, too. I can see their challenges, but I'm afraid that that is ALL their new teacher will see.

    I'll pray that J's new teacher sees the positive side too, and loves him every bit as much as you do!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad


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