Tuesday, June 27, 2017 – Horseback Riding.
Over the years as a special education teacher, 7th and 8th grade teacher, assistant principal, and principal, I have made hundreds of deals with students.
I have brought in donuts on a Friday for a boy who finally did all of his homework for a week. I have brought in lunch for a student and 3 friends when we made it through 3 weeks of NO DRAMA amongst them. I have given a “get out of jail card” to a boy for when a disliked sub was in for a beloved teacher just so he wouldn’t get kicked out of the class the minute he walked in. I have given extra gym time for the girl who came to the detentions I assigned her. I have played Chess with a few boys during lunch time if they did NOT get kicked out of class. I have given free ice cream for a week of no tardies to several students! AND…I did a cartwheel in the main office (IT WAS NOT PRETTY) for the boy who promised he would come to school for a whole week….and he did!
So, in November, when I made a deal with a girl whose grades could be better, I took it seriously ….and so did she and her mom! She wants to be a veterinarian and LOVES animals but had never been on a horse. SO, I made a deal. If her grades consistently went up from the 1st quarter through the 4th quarter, I would take her horseback riding….and her mom too!!
Throughout the year, we would check in with each other. She brought her report card to me the 2nd and 3rd quarter, and I told her, the grades had to get better. Mom was fully on board and would check in with me and her to see how things were going. By the 4th quarter, we agreed that I would take them both horseback riding! Her grades were considerably better!!
This is where a GREAT friend come in!! I called Wendy, who owns horses, to see if 1. She might be willing to have us come to her horse or 2. Did she know a farm that did horseback riding nearby? Of course, she said, “COME ON OVER!” Because….that is what good friends do!!
We set up the date, I packed a lunch for the three of us, Wendy, her son and her mom and off we went to Newtown!
What a day it was!! The joy on my student’s face was priceless. The joy on her mom’s face as she watched her daughter’s face was even better!!!
My student fed Jack, brushed him, pet him, rode him and thanked him!! Absolutely beautiful!!
She, her mom, and I all had a chance to ride Jack and then spent the rest of the afternoon eating lunch and chatting with Wendy, her son and her mom. For my student, the bonus of the day was that she was able to play in the backyard with Wendy’s 6 year old, brush the two dogs, have a race with the two turtles, feed and pet all 3 horses, and ask a million questions about the location of the 3 cats we never saw! What an action packed day! She felt like she was in a far away land where only dreams come true! It was such a special sight to see.
So now…she and I have a new deal. Straight A’s by the end of 8th grade and she can name the follow up activity. I have 3 years to save up and see what she wants to do next! I know she will do it. She is a beautiful and smart young lady with a very special mom!!!
Although I have been on a horse before (a very long time ago), I have never taken a student (and her mom!) to go on a horse for the first time! It was awesome!!
Thank you Wendy for your generosity of love! Jack and you have made this young lady’s summer. It was truly a moment in time she will never forget and it has the potential to change her life forever!