Yesterday, I had the duty of distributing honor roll brunch invitations to students in one of my classes. I probably didn’t make as big a deal of it as I should have. During class, I made a small announcement and handed out 2 of the 3 invitations to little fanfare. The third student was at a rehearsal and wasn’t present to receive hers.
I ran into that missing student in the hallway after school, and it crossed my mind just as the conversation was ending that I still had her invitation. I went back to my room and grabbed it, and said to her, in probably an almost off-hand manner, “Oh, and here’s your honor roll invitation”.
I almost jumped out of fright when she, out of nowhere, shrieked and tore off, running zig-zag down the hallway.
“I made the honor roll!!! I made the honor roll!!!”
She ran up behind a random kid in the hallway and shook the heck out of him, while screaming at him that she was on the honor roll.
Tears of joy streaming down her face when she came back and told me, “Mr. Johnson, I’ve never made the honor roll before! My sisters are on the honor roll every semester, but me, I’ve never been on the honor roll before. I’m an honor student!”
Granted, this particular girl is super emotional all the time, but I was still taken off-guard by how excited and surprised she was. I guess I kind of assumed she already knew how she had really gotten her act together, and how much butt she was kicking in class.
I guess looking back, she has made an absolutely incredible turnaround. This girl was a handful at the beginning of the year. I don’t think I can take much credit for it; she’s been kind of a team project. And I know she’s put in extraordinary effort, all on her own. Still, in the daily grind and chaos, it’s easy to miss out on some of the great things that happen.
And I think the lesson for me is to make big deals out of the good things, because you never know how much a little recognition might mean to someone.