The Story of Bobby

There are so many great stories from my classroom: the Story of Mariposa and how she beat the odds, the story of Jorge and Jesus and their friendship til the end.  There are others which I’ve yet to name.  But, one of the first stories I shared from my classroom was The Story of Bobby.

A preschool teacher writes observations on a daily basis.  I write about children’s language abilities, cognitive thinking, physical development and social-emotional skills.  These notes are taken throughout the school year and, when you put them all together, you have a chronological storyline of how a child learns and grows.

The following are string of observations on a child named Bobby, and his journey to speak…

 AUGUST –
Bobby and his Mom enters class and I speak to him for the first time.
Teacher: “Good morning Bobby”
Bobby: blank stare at teacher and not a word
Teacher: “Good morning?”
Bobby: blank stare
Teacher: “Hi?”
Bobby: blank stare
Mom: “He’s a little nervous”
Teacher: “Yeh, I see” looking down at Bobby “We’re going to have a lot of fun this year”
Bobby: blank stare

– SEPTEMBER –
Bobby enters the room smiling
Teacher: “Good morning Bobby ”
Bobby: smiling, extends his hand with a blue train and says “Thomas!”
Teacher: “Is that your train?”
Bobby: “Thomas!” and extends both arms in the air.
Mom: “It’s his favorite toy.”
Teacher: “Oh..” looking at Bobby “Is that the name of the train?”
Bobby: “Thomas!”
Teacher: looking at mom “Well, at least he’s talking”

– OCTOBER –
Teacher: “Good morning Bobby.”
Bobby: “Avocados!”
Teacher: “huh?”
Bobby: “Avocados!”
Mom: “It’s his new word”
Teacher: “Oh” then looking at Bobby “Do you like avocados?”
Bobby: “Avocados!”
Teacher: “Would you like to sign your name?”
Bobby: “Avocados!”
Teacher: “All the kids are signing their names in the morning.  Do you want to try?”
Bobby: “What?”
Teacher: “Sign your name?”
Bobby: “What?”
Teacher: (reluctantly) “You can go play.”
Bobby: walks away with both arms in the air “Avocados!”

– NOVEMBER –
Students are playing outside
Teacher: “Bobby, come here.”
Bobby: Runs to the teacher smiling
Teacher: “What’s your word today.”
Bobby: “Chocolate”
Teacher: (surprised) “Really?’
Bobby: raising both hands in the air “Chocolate!!!”
Teacher: “Okay” and yelling to the rest of the class “Boys and girls, say chocolate!!!” And from every corner of the playground, 15 little boys and girls shout loudly “Chocolate!!!”
Bobby: smiles and then continues to play

– DECEMBER –
Teacher walking around classroom while kids play.  Teacher reviews sign in sheet and Bobby has not signed in.
Teacher: “Bobby, you didn’t sign your name.”
Bobby: “What?”
Teacher: “Do you want to sign your name?”
Bobby: “No.”
Teacher: “Why?”
Bobby: “What?”
Teacher: “You don’t want to sign your name?”
Bobby: “No.”
Teacher: “Okay, but I’d like you to try.”

– JANUARY –
Bobby walks into the classroom smiling
Bobby: Extends his hand “Thomas”
Teacher: “Cool.”
Bobby: reaches into pocket and pulls out a green train “Percy.”
Teacher: (awestruck) “….wow”
Bobby: reaches into pocket and pulls out a black train “Hiro.”
Teacher: (still awestruck) “Cool, Bobby.  You’re trains are cool.”
Bobby: walks over to the table and begins playing with his friends

– FEBRUARY –
Teacher walking around classroom while kids play.  Teacher reviews sign in sheet and Bobby has not signed in.
Teacher: “Bobby, you didn’t sign your name.”
Bobby: “What?”
Teacher: “Do you want to sign your name?”
Bobby: “No.”
Teacher: “Why?”
Bobby: looking at teacher “I’m playing cars.”
Teacher: taken aback “Oh… well, when you’re done, I’d like you to sign your name.”
Bobby: “Okay.” And he continues playing cars. Afterwards, he cleans up the cars, puts them back on the shelf and lines up with the other students to go play outside.

– MARCH –
Teacher notices Bobby playing in the Dramatic Play Area
Teacher: “Hey Bobby.  What are you doing?”
Bobby: “I’m playing.”
Teacher: “What are you playing?”
Bobby: “Kitchen.”
Teacher: “Cool.”
Bobby: “Uh-Oh! Telephone.” runs and grabs a toy phone
Teacher: “I’ll grab my phone.” And grabs a cell phone out of his pocket
Bobby: talking into pretend phone “…hello?”
Teacher: talking into cell phone “Hello.”
Bobby: thinking… “…Happy birthday.”
Teacher: “Thank you.”
Bobby: “…Good-bye.”
Teacher: “…Good-bye.”
Teacher and Bobby put away phones.
The notes end here.

For many of my students, I will be their first public education teacher, a respect that I consider a privilege and responsibility.   Like all of my students, Bobby’s story continues outside of my classroom, even right now as I’m typing.  I truly wish him all the best, and I love hearing about how he is doing from his mother…

…I’m getting all teary-eyed.  I’m getting some coffee.

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