Did one month really pass by that quickly?

Today's ranking on hardest days of my life? 4 out of 7

I can't believe I actually had to say goodbye to them.

To Esteban who noticed that for the first day since he has been my student that I was not wearing a band-aid over my tattoo (to cover it) and asked me "are you all better Ms. Toll?" while pointing at my foot. Esteban, who continually spoke out and spent most of his time in time out, but is actually an awesome, smart, and freakin' hilarious kid who just needed some dang attention. When I asked the kids to draw a self-portrait of themselves today for me to keep Esteban actually drew a detailed picture of his father, mustache and all. The art work has been an item of pure awesomeness all day.... I want to frame it and hang it in my house, actually, I am going to frame it and hang it in my house.

To Alexis, who has the most adorable and sincere smile I have ever seen. If ever I thought my children were evil all I had to do was look at Alexis and he somehow said to me through his smile "Ms. Toll, please excuse my peers, we're actually really sweet!" Alexis, who could hardly speak English or speak at all when I first met him can now hold conversations with everyone. He's the smallest kid in the class, and I just adore the little darling.

To Hector, who for the first time in a while did not spew projectile vomit all over the carpet 10 minutes before school ended. Oh Hector, who we just found out is lactose intolerant, but it only took us a bean and cheese burrito, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, cheese pizza, and several cartons of milk for us to figure this out. The picture he drew me was of him and the girl who sits next to him, Claudia. Hector is one of the happiest kids on the planet.

To Claudia, who told me at least 4 times today "I'm going to miss you Ms. Toll" and then wrapped her little arms so tight around my legs. Claudia, who most of the kids at her table copied off of, and all of the kids in the class looked up to. The self-portrait she drew me is the spitting image of her. With her long black pony tail and ear to ear smile. When I first met Claudia she would hardly speak, and now she is one of our most eloquent speakers.

To Gilbert, Mr. Bubbles. Gilbert, Gilbert, Gilbert. The child who I can say honestly had the biggest impact on me. Starting out Gilbert was out of control. I nearly cried several times in the middle of class. He would completely ignore every command and would rarely respond to his name. He would pull out all the toys and run around the room while I gave instruction. This was a daily routine and I thought I had tried everything I possibly could to get through to him, nothing was working. I felt as though I was at rock bottom with him, and I was just about to give up on him. I wanted to hold him to the same standards as the other students, but I had started to believe that that would never be possible. Thank goodness for great advice and continued persistence. The last week of school Gilbert became a normal student! With some serious behavioral management and hard core intervention Gilbert began to come around. He started responding to his name and ALWAYS sat on the carpet with the other students. His motivation? Well, yesterday it was bubbles. Today it was a pencil. With a close eye and constant praise or discipline Gilbert will do just fine. When I spoke to hims mom today I told her to make sure that his kindergarten teacher did not give up on him. At the end of the day he looked up to me, wrapped his arms in a tight grip around me ( like he always does) and said "bye teacher" I had to use every bit of strength in my body to hold back my tears. What a phenomenal boy. His heart is full of gold, and my mindset has made a complete 180. My sweet Gilbert, I will never be able to repay him for everything he has taught me. Oh Gilbert. "Bubbles!"

To Angel, who never said much, and was somewhat lost in the crowd, but who I know will grow into such and incredible kid. He has a lot of gears running in that tiny little brain, I don't think the world is ready to see them yet, but I think that once the time is right, he wont hold back.

To Ismael, the most polished off kid in the universe. With outstanding manners and the mouth of a tattletale. He has the cutest voice, I love when he talks. I have no fear with him, he'll manage to figure it out. I'll miss his baby blue polo that he wore every single day, and the sparkly little stars that had been stuck all over the collar.

To Dahvyne, my girl. I am so glad that my CMA will have Dehvyne as a student in the fall, so I can hear all about how her brilliant brain is expanding even more. This girl is smart, so smart! Her mom today told me "she's too smart for her own good" and I love it! She has such high expectations for herself and she gets incredibly bored in class. She's going to do big things with her life, I can feel it. Her self-portrait is adorable, minus the mustache she drew on her face after she saw the moustache Esteban drew on his picture, actually, I like her moustache.

To Daysy, the princess. Though Spanish is still her language, she's started to respond to a lot more questions at the end there. She loves anything princess, and also ALWAYS needs her shoes tied. One time I tied her shoe for her, then when she walked away I watched as she untied it and came right back up to me expecting me to tie it again. Kids are silly.

To Mara, oh Mara. Mara must have a lot of interesting things going on in that little mind of hers, she is always daydreaming about something. I would love to just look inside that little head of hers for maybe 29 seconds. She draws awesome pictures, as any pro-daydreamer should. =)

To Jesus, who says "yellow" in the most awesome way. He's my little vampire with a kick-butt accent, which I still never figured out where he picked it up from. His self-portrait is hilarious too! He drew himself and his little brother, and he drew himself with his mohawk even. He gave me my first ever teacher gift, an awesome pen that has a stand and on top of the pen is a little doll, that is wearing all green (my favorite color) dress and hat, I just love it. This kid is the spitting image of how I hope my children are, he's amazing.

To Rodrigo, who somehow thought I wasn't paying attention when he snuck away from the line and ran back to the play structures at lunch the other day. This kid will be the next Marvel comic artist. I'm astounded by his creativity, I think he draws better than most college students I know. Yeah- he's that legit. He was also the funniest to listen to when playing "who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?"

To Miss Paris, the angel of room 4. She was gift from heaven. A brilliant kid who is so eager to learn and listen. Today she told me she wants to go to college and be a teacher like me. She loved being in that classroom everyday, and made my life WAY easier. Paris is also a spitting image of what I hope my children are. She's just a doll.

To Ebonie, ahhhh, sweet Ebonie. With her long, long dark hair, always in a pony tail. The one who never had to pull her card ever. She made such gains in letter recognition and math, I am so glad that we were able to help her reach her growth goals, but she also worked hard to get there.

To Alejandro, with dimples that made me melt. Alejandro is the definition of a kid. He is a great learner, a great friend, and a great little boy. My day always managed to somehow get so much brighter whenever I saw him, I just loved that little boy. I also hope that my children someday are just like him.

To Eva, a mini-teenager. She loved to talk, and she loved her lipstick. I am so proud of her for overcoming so many things, and drying up her tears every morning wen she didn't want to be at school. She learned and grew and I only hope that she will learn and grow so very much more in the coming years.

To Dayanna, with her little chubby cheeks and sweet demeanor. She sometimes talked to herself, about interesting things, I would have liked to have known why or what prompted that. None-the-less she did a great job in our class and she is a little mathematician!

To David, who has a great personality- but somehow always got shy during morning circle and stuck his face into a stuffed penguin when he talked. He was such a goofy kid, and I loved him for that.

To Edwin, who used to fall asleep everyday with his butt in the air, but now tries so hard to be good and to learn. Today he told me his favorite basketball player is Amare Staudemire, I was impressed. I loved when he wore his bright orange Fubu attire and his bald little head, he's also one of our smallest kids, but somehow has one of the biggest mouths. What a cutie.

I would love if my children had a little piece of all of these children in them.... a litte Claudia with a pinch of Edwin, a side of Jesus, and dollop of Daysy, and smidgen of Alexis, and scoop of Paris and so on. They are all amazing and I love them with every bit of my heart. I'm so blessed to have known them and have them touch my life.

My first ever students. You'll always be my favorites.... but shhh.... don't tell my future classes!

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