Saying Goodbye to Jacob

It’s always sad to say good-bye to a student, but it is also one of the sweetest tastes…like taffy rolling around inside of your mouth.  Jacob is done.  He is above grade level in most areas and holding his own academically.  I bend down and hug Jacob’s once scrawny body and he wraps his thicker arms around me.  “Thanks, Miss Lisa.  I love you,” he giggles, then races off. I give Michelle a big hug as well and let her know I will always be there for Jacob. 

          Jacob has continued to make excellent grades and is happy, well adjusted, and confident.  I back out of their driveway, both sad and happy.  I realize that I became too emotionally involved with Jacob’s learning disability and the up and down road to his rehabilitation as well as becoming too close to Michelle.  I don’t have the mental energy to do this with every student.

          I know there are a million or more other “Jacobs” out there.  I know they all need help and that I can’t be the only one to do it.  I realize that I can’t be there for every student with a learning difference. 

Michelle calls often to check up on me, to give reports on Jacob, but as often happens, the calls become further apart.  I go on with my busy life and focus on other students, my own children as well.  They all seem to be going in three different directions at one time. As time passes, I occasionally hear from Michelle when she has a specific problem with Jacob’s academics.  I help her and remind her that most kids have a problem with some piece of academics now and then.  She laughs that deep, throaty laugh of hers and acts a bit embarrassed.  I don’t mind helping.  I feel so glad that Jacob is doing well. 

          I make a decision to expand my business.  I want to help more kids. I will see how it all pans out, but I am excited.  Jacob’s ups and downs during his treatment made me wonder if I was doing the right thing.  Now I know I have.  Now I know that even with the ups and downs, if certain steps are taken, students will recover and do well.  A learning difference doesn’t need to be a death sentence academically.  I put my head down and get to work, rolling that sweet taffy in my mouth as a memory of what can be done instead of what can’t.

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