I have a student in my lowest-tracked freshmen class. Her IEP is thicker than some of the dictionaries in my room...and I'm talking real Webster's dictionaries. She is bipolar, ADHD and has defiant disorder (and these are just the highlights of her IEP).
When we started out the year, her case manager and I wondered if she'd even make it past the first week. We were petitioning to send her to a facility better equipped to handle her. I had to remove her from class at least three times a week. She was rude and disruptive. She was hateful and said very nasty things in such a nasty tone. I was at my wits end.
Her case manager and I tried several different ways to get her to behave. We simply had no idea what to do because no one had ever really tried before. They simply said, "Oh, that's ED." CM and I decided we would/could not put up with that behavior.
I'm not sure what finally changed her behavior, whether she realized she wouldn't get away with it or what, but she's a new student. To walk into my classroom, you'd never know that she was kicked out on a regular basis at the beginning of the year. She's even helping me plan a unit for next semester.
I've recieved several compliments from teachers who knew this girl over at the middle school. They've said she's changed completely, and they're convinced a lot of it has to do with me. I'm not saying I haven't gone above and beyond what was asked of me with this girl because I know I have. I go down on my prep to visit her (because half her day is spent in a contained classroom with CM). We sit and just talk. I've convinced her to join the Speech team, as I'm an assistant coach. I eat lunch with her occasionally and such. But I can't take credit for her behavior. She's learning to make better choices.
Anyways, the point of this post is, she wrote me a letter the other day...left it on my desk for me to find. (She likes to leave notes on my desk for me for whatever reason). It's not so much what the note says, as who it's from. But it's something I plan to treasure. I was shocked to recieve it and even more shocked to note who it was from. I had tears in my eyes when I read her signature in the bottom because I simply cannot believe how far she's come. I could not possibly be more proud of this girl.