I lost a student yesterday in the best way possible: he didn't need me anymore. According to his classroom teacher, Jacob's DIBELS scores were well into the safety zone meaning he no longer needed Tier 2 intervention: me. When we broke the news to him, his eyes got shiny and full.
"But I still want to come with you."
I said he could come one last time and his eyes cleared. Minutes later, quite on purpose, Jacob scrawled the worst letters of his kindergarten life into his Fundations workbook. I could hardly believe my eyes. He was trying to throw the game, wielding the only power he had left. The thing of it was, it was too late. He couldn't fool anyone. He'd been writing clearly and reading for weeks. The poor kid had mistaken his victory parade for overtime: his last chance to prove me wrong.
When we got back to class I gave him his workbook and a certificate I had made. "I'm really going to miss you, Jacob."
"Me, too." He gave me a hip-crushing hug and headed for his cubby to put away his things. From across the room I watched him wipe his eyes.
On my way out of class he hugged me twice more.