today at jumpers i watched one jumper who was one of my first grade students two years ago. i enjoyed having her as a student but the work was too easy for her and she developed quite an attitude. i never saw her try very hard at anything because she just didn't have to. i see her every friday at book club and although i love catching up with her i've never seen a hint of anything but a smart kid who goes easily through life.
i was excited when she made the team, but a little worried. we realized we didn't have any 3rd graders and so we looked through who was the best out of 3rd grade. so while she has tons of promise we knew that if we put her and the one other 3rd grader on the team they'd have a hard year ahead of her. we've seen kids have a difficult year jumping in 3rd grade but be the stars of the team in 5th. we know they can do it, they just have to want it. i wasn't sure how this little one would react to working so hard.
but i watched her today as we pushed through learning a new routine. it was only our 3rd practice and due to certain circumstances we are pushing a new routine on them faster than we normally would.
i was blown away watching her. she's not good~ in fact, she may be struggling more than anyone else. but she is determined. her eyes are on the coach- her feet are moving and she's trying. and at one point i saw her screw her face up into a determined scowl- not a 'i can't do this' look, but an 'i'm going to do this if it kills me' look. at the end of practice she went to the back of the gym and practiced the routine silently, by herself.
my heart glowed as i saw her in a completely new light. i've always known she was smart, but today she showed me that she's a fighter. she is going to work hard- at something she's not very good at. in fact, for the first time in her life she may be 'not naturally good' at something. i've seen a lot of kids crumple in that first 'this is hard' experience. but she didn't.
with those brains and that kind of determination she's going to go far in life. until today i didn't know what she had in her. here's to new perspectives.