A Question and A Choice

On Friday, I was having an “off” day. I was absent on Thursday dealing with a stressful family situation, and didn’t feel like myself upon return to school. One of my students started to explain, and then argue, about reasons why he didn’t have the work from the day before. My mood was making me impatient and easily agitated, and I didn’t respond well to the student. I continued around the classroom checking the work of other students, and a conversation so short, but so powerful, occurred; and I’m still thinking about it two days later.

Student: “Ms. Kohn, how is your day going?” He knew something was wrong.

Me: “Okay.” I lied.

Student: “Have you been giving high fives today?” He knew I needed one.

Me: I paused. The student already knew the answer to this question. He knew I hadn’t been in the hallway giving high fives. It was High Five Friday. And he hadn’t gotten his high five yet. In that brief moment, I knew I had a choice to make. This student reminded of this choice in a moment that I needed it the most. I could choose to turn my day around. I could choose to shake myself out of the funk I was in. So I did.

I smiled. I raised my arm and high fived that student. Then, I high fived some of the students around him. During the next passing time, I resumed my usual post in the hallway and high fived everyone that walked by.

Those seven words, and a simple motion, completely turned my day around. Thanks, student.

Note: If you want to read more about the power of high fives, read this.

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