I don’t like it when one of my students gets sick and misses multiple days of school. I cannot control the ravages of flu and other infectious, highly contagious diseases; I merely observe the ramifications of their rampage. The students who make life fun are especially missed. I miss my daily banter with them. A little bit of sparkle is missing from my everyday routine. My eyes stray to the assigned seat; I sigh to myself and enjoy the bright-eyes faces of the ones who are there with me. We sometimes deepen our rapport on those days.
On the other hand, I notice that the students who make life challenging sometimes leave me holding my breath and wondering about how the chemistry of the class will shift again to “normal.” I perceive that I am more relaxed and open in my affect; my intuitive students pick up on it as well. When my challenging-to-me personality returns, I once again clamp down on procedures. My expectations never relax. I simply feel at ease to joke with my class again like I did before I unearthed the one or two persons who are too thick to understand my humor or take it in an improper vein. Some years I have multiple students who force me to earn another grey hair or two. Understand this: I never want any of them to be sick and to miss school. I just want the hearts of some of them to change for the better. I want them to make good decisions and to behave properly. I want them to concentrate on school and its priorities and not any other circumstances.