I always knew that I would write about this child someday. And I guess that time is – now! As a trainer I had to prepare my children for their school sports day and he was one of the 400 kindergarteners. What was special about him was he never did any of the things I taught! No, he was not naughty, or a bully or an attention seeker. He was a very shy child. He took his time to learn new things. He would just smile all through the classes, all through the week, all through the month and not once do a single step I taught. You must wonder if I ever got frustrated. Frankly no! I guess for two reasons. One being his to-die-for-shy-smile, and second reason being his ‘responsiveness’. He would respond to my questions about random things such as color of objects, spellings of difficult words and always gave me a ‘thumbs-up’ as a feedback for my classes
I would speak to him before and after class, almost begging him every time to do just a little step to make his teacher happy. He would smile at me knowingly and yet never dance on cue. I had sort of resigned to the fact that he will be my only child not performing that day. The final day did arrive. The show started, the music was on and all the children merrily hopped and danced. Then came the most difficult part of the dance where they had to crawl with their tummies facing upward. To my shock and happy surprise he got down on his four and did a little jig. I almost cried. I knew he did it for me because he was looking at me and smiling at that time. I went back to him after the dance and told him how happy I was to see him participate. He just smiled at me.
Later his teacher and his parents told me that his grades had improved and he showed more physical activity at play since my classes had begun. That was the best feedback I ever got since I started teaching. He will always be a very special child to me. I guess because of his unceasing smiles, and his attempt at doing something difficult. He taught me about the power of setting expectations. As a teacher I had requested him to do something and he tried his best to do so. The power of setting expectations goes a long way in teaching children new skills, getting them to rid their unwanted habits and understanding the equation you share with them.
A year later I went back to that school; most of the kindergarteners had forgotten me, but he remembered my name, he remembered me. As usual he smiled shyly back at me.