Their eyes got so big when they found out they could have one of each... and when they heard they came from North Caroline (not sure they know where NC is) they were stunned. They all said thank you without being reminded (small victories) and many of them gave me a hug - not a cursory hug, but one that said thank you. Several said I am going to work hard for you today and I will do my best on this TCAP test. And almost all of them reported back to me that they worked hard, knew the answers, and tried their best. There is nothing more that I could ask for. If making those yarn balls made a difference, then I would do it a thousand times over. Doing what is best for kids is what teaching is all about... and I hope that they will remember that when they were in the sixth grade, a teacher cared and loved them so much, that she would do anything to help them learn.
And in return, they taught that teacher a lifetime of lessons about teaching, learning and love. In the words of one of my students about the treats from me and mom, "I had no idea that people did nice things like this!" and "This is the nicest thing that has ever happened to me." As I fought (slightly unsuccessfully) back tears and silently said a prayer that they did their best on the TCAP, I knew they would make me proud.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason I teach.