Stuart's Spectacular Students

This is dedicated to my amazing students. The goal is for each and every one of them to feel unstoppable by the time they walk out of the classroom door for the final time in May. This chronicles their journey; their own Chronicles of Self-Actualization.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

We Can't Do It Alone

I was talking to Kenny's new teacher this week and told him I'd send him the "Happy Valentines Day" post showing Kenny opening the door for his mother. I ending up finding other posts from last year:

"Happy Kenny Day", when the class had learned to appreciate his amazing capacity for love so much that they renamed Valentines Day in honor of his great heart. (Kenny coming back this year to visit....and with great joy and emotion as I write this.......INSPIRE!...without even trying.)

And "My Great Historical Figure" , where after he had been home sick for a week the comments showed how important he was to us:

(This year's class - pictured here with Kenny - know all about him and his accomplishments. At one point last year when we were both just fed up with each other, I looked him in the eyes and told him he was more important to the world than he knew, and that if he would just give me his best he would see it too.

Together we would make the world a better place beginning by making HIS life better than it already much better that he would inspire the world more than he already did. )

Impossible growth and success rarely comes from individual effort. We can do it, but rarely can we do it alone. And if we do do it alone, won't that be sad as we're standing there all by ourselves?
(Kristen hugging me with tears of joy running down her face. You'll see why below)

This is some of Kenny's story........


My Great Historical Figure

During the History on Parade presentations one student had a difficult time paying attention. As inconspicuously as I could, I helped him focus while still focusing on the student doing their presentation. He asked me why I was being mean to him. I told him I was being kind to him by believing he could do better.

After the parents left and the students went to lunch, I had an idea. (Oh, I was dressed as a biker. When I got to school Tricia in the office (a fellow motorcycle rider) said "Ah, you're dressed as a biker". Thinking of the shirt and tie I had waiting for me in my classroom, the fun side of me said "Yes, that's right." And I got to wear my "costume" all day long :-).

If teachers enjoy teaching and have fun doing it, the students are more likely to enjoy learning and have fun doing it. And I just really, really, really wanted to wear my biker costume.

When I brought the students back from lunch I told them there was one more presentation. I had my own great historical figure to talk about.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. I am up here to tell you the story of a great person. My name is Kenny and this is my story. My life changed way back in the 5th grade, when I was put in a regular classroom and I was seen as a regular student by my teachers. I used to think Mr. Stuart was being mean to me sometimes, but I realized he loved me all the time. He and Ms. Wilson saw me as having the same great potential to have the same great life as anyone else. They believed that I could develop talents and abilities and end up giving the world something so phenomenal, making the world such a better place, that I would be remembered forever."

"Kenny, come up here and help me tell your story."

"You're talking about me? But why?"

"Because this is the Kenny I see; the Great Kenny, The Amazing Kenny, The Best Kenny possible."

"Rise with me! There has never been someone exactly like you. The world will never again see anyone exactly like you. Give the best of yourself to the world. See the Great Kenny I see!"

"I see it!"

Ms. Wilson, who also works with Kenny, showing how proud she is of him. You're a great teacher Ms. Wilson. Together with his incredibly loving mother, we are all affecting this child's life in a powerfully positive way. We are doing our jobs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

kenny you will shine no matter were you are in life. you have lifted your heart and opened the doors for the world to see how specail you are. life will give what you will give your self. I have always enjoyed how your teacher Mr Stuart teaches you and your class. and i know he is very proud of you and your class mates

11/09/2006 01:22:00 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I MISS KENNY (X>X)!!! from Skyler Martin

11/10/2006 02:14:00 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kenny is Back!!!

11/14/2006 01:03:00 PM

What will you and I do that will last forever? Historically the chances are, not much. About 90% of us will stop dreaming and doing big, and as a result not ever becoming as big as we were meant to be.

But 100% of us are all gifted. And it's time to develop those gifts and share them with the world.

I say this and "hear" this inside of me because I have seen just this week how bringing others' gifts into the classroom has helped me reach my students just when I, and THEY needed it most.

After the students had left this past Thursday my son came in and took this pic of me. For a week I've been dealing with a lot, including Shanghai's owner wanting him back. (The day after I posted "Our Love Makes Us Immortal", mentioning maybe Shanghai is my path to learning to trust that not everything I love will be taken away...I got an email saying she wanted him back)

And during the week there had been lying and cheating, skipping school, students giving up and not giving their best, etc.

We all are going to mess up and do stupid things out of anger, fear, panic, pain and self-doubt. If we can't learn to overcome and resist these as children, chances aren't good that we will as adults, when everything gets harder and heavier.

Our children NEED US to have the strength to keep believing in them and not letting go of the high expectations we know they can achieve. (Nick and Shawn, runner-up and first place DARE essay finishers posing with Deputy Drake)

Brosden showed me how terrible I looked and asked what was wrong. When I told him I had just run out of smiles and hugs, he said, "Here, take one of mine", and gave me a such a big hug I literally felt it all the way to my heart (proving that it is true when we give unselfishly and purely we create more giving in return).

We can't accomplish great things alone, and I can't thank others enough.....Officer Deputy Drake, the DARE officer who motivated a very rare 100% participation FOR THE 2ND YEAR IN A ROW,

...My fellow 5th grade teachers, who take my kids once a week for skill rotation, and especially Ms. Bruce, who teaches my son; Mrs. Blackmore, who makes extra coffee for me and whose husband signed his Disney artwork with an inspirational message; Mrs. McNally, who puts up with our banging and loud noises; and Mrs. Gryna, who tutors one of my students and as the school's Teacher of the Year will be representing us to the county.

....Mrs. Lyons, a 4th grade teacher who helped me reach a 5th grade student who wasn't even mine, inspiring the chapter title called "Every Effective School Has a Lyon" for a book I'm working on

....Ms. Mosley and Mr. Pollock, the PE teachers who brought former professional wrestler Marc Mero and his program, Champion of Choices, to our school (Ms. Mosley pictured to Marc's right). well as parents who have given us their time and energy (Mrs. Mason, Mr. Bullard, Mr. & Mrs. Dolsak, Mr. & Mrs. Gaffin, etc).

...And people who don't even know these students who have either directly given something or indirectly by allowing me to share something I've read of theirs that with the class:

Some of these are Liz (SWAT shirts), Serenity (books and Kristen), Marc Mero (class/school visit, inspirational quotes and his signed Dream Big pics of himself, Mohammad Ali, and President Jimmy Carter which can be seen in the Deputy Drake pic with Nick and Shawn)

Alexandra (quote), Brian Blackmore (signed Dream Big artistic work), Robert (poem), Jeff (sending us his book), Tui (Christmas cookies), Red (poster) Dodinsky (something special arriving early next week) and Tarringo (his poem, "Miss Parks", in my hands being read to the students....

....which made even those working elsewhere stop what they were doing and listen intently......this is what engaged students look like....and grabbing their minds AND hearts is what engagement is all about

.....and the key to helping them produce greater results than they have ever produced before! (Raymond had perhaps the best week of school in his life....and I know Tarringo's poem played a part in that)

After my son's hug brought me back to life on Thursday, taking Sofia to her current favorite Date Night With Daddy hangout (Congo River Golf - Sofia wearing Manager Dave's hat), and nearly falling asleep at the wheel on my drive home, I logged on MySpace to keep my promise to answer an email. I saw Tarringo had written me and I opened it wanting to thank him for allowing me to share his poem and excited to tell him the effect it had on the class.....

....and do you know what his message was to me?....That he had included me in a post about positive role models......I didn't know what to say. I just kept hitting the "..........." button, feeling completely overwhelmed.

I'm still stunned by the irony.

(Shaking my head awake - Now where was I? Oh!)

It's the teacher's job to reach ALL his students. Whether or not it's the teacher himself doesn't matter. What matters is if he or she is failing to reach the students, by God he better find somebody who can.

I plan on writing more about so many of you. You have thrown your rock in our pond, and the rippling effects it has had have been extraordinary.

Just as you don't stop lifting a weight when it gets "too heavy", we don't give up on our children just because they are difficult to reach! When we hold on and keep "lifting" UNTIL we find a way.......THAT'S WHEN GROWTH and INCREASE IN STRENGTH and ABILITY HAPPENS!

We MUST do the things we think we cannot do - Eleanor Roosevelt

Throughout history so much emphasis has been placed on looks. Being attractive to someone is wonderful. I love good-looking people. Eleanor was not. Yet besides my grandmother, she and Mother Theresa are the most meaningful and beautiful women in history to me.

So thank you all from the bottom of my heart, because that's exactly where I was this week, at the very bottom of what was left. I want your beauty to be shared with the world as much as it has been shared with us.

You have helped us hold on for just one more day when we felt like giving up, giving us the strength to give the heroic effort needed that produced the shouts of jubilation and tears of joy from improbable success the next day.

(Kristen above telling Serenity about her success. She actually ran barefoot that morning to catch the bus to keep a promise to Serenity that she wouldn't miss any more school. I don't know what was said between the two, but Kristen was crying tears of joy and very touched afterwards.)

May God and Buddha and Mohammad all cover you in as many blessings as they have in talents and gifts, realized and yet to be developed.........especially the gift of caring for and loving children you have never met.

The greatest gift and strongest muscle is the heart, and I love and thank you all for yours. (Kelly, who along with Nick tied for the highest Science class test grade, celebrating with Kristen who received her highest test score ever!)

When I told Kenny that when I called next week expecting his teacher to tell me he was giving him his best, Kenny replied, "Don't worry Mr. Stuart, I won't let you down!".......I once again felt covered in his love and beauty...covered in his gift of the heart...and I felt that I could go on believing in myself and others for at least one more week...that IT DID matter...that IT DID make a difference.... me the strength to mean it when I say back to him ...And don't worry Kenny, I won't let YOU down. I won't give up!

You breathe life back into me.....

And this is why Kenny deserves his own holiday....This is HAPPY KENNY DAY from last year


"Everyone has a genius, a talent, a gift....EVERYBODY! I will argue for this as long as I live because I can see it with my soul and feel it in my bones to be true.

Kenny's is his ability to love, to make others feel better, to enrich their lives with a pureness of honesty, an innocence of love and a bravery to show it that so few of us have the power to take into adulthood.

Here's an actual conversation between the two of us:

"You're funny Mr. Stuart" (I can't remember what I did to make him say this)

"Aiy! That I am. And do yoo know why Kenny?" (said in my Scottish accent)

"No. Tell me."

"Because I am happy. I am a happy man."

"Why are you a happy man, Mr. Stuart? See, you're being funny again."

"Aiy that I am! I am happy because YOO are in my class. YOO make mah day good. YOO fill it weeth love, and weeth joy."

"I do?"

"That yoo do. And very well at that. I want tah thank yoo fah dooin' thees Kenny. Yoo make mah life betta', and yer important to me."

"Ahh, no problem Mr. Stuart. I love you."

"And I luv yoo rite back, weeth every bit of me. Now let's get tah work on developin' that grate mind uv yoors."

Kenny's great power is his ability to love. In honor of this the class gave him his very own holiday last month, renaming Valentines Day "Happy Kenny Day".

pictures to soon as I can find where I downloaded them and on which computer....every one has a gift, and organization ISN'T mine. That's why you don't focus on being better than others; instead you surround yourself with others better than you. Fortunately for me this isn't hard :-)"

- Adam Stuart (November 2006)

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  • At 4:03 PM , Anonymous rarlynn said...

    hey are still my favorite teacher...even if i currently don't have the privilege of you being my are a big part why i am who i am, so thank you......i miss 5th grade year we were one big happy family

    i didn't know that you liked wrestling


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