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Make Them Feel Like Rock Stars

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Somehow, with one minute before we had to leave for school one of my son’s shoes went missing. The only shoes that he will currently wear. I searched everywhere as fast as I could. No luck. It was then that I told him he was going to have to wear his brand new Star Wars Crocs. This didn’t go over well.

My son proceeded to cry, scream and have a fit like only toddlers can. I texted my principal to let her know that I was going to be a few minutes late and decided to conduct one last sweep of the house while my son continued to cry while sitting at the top of the steps. Maybe it would turn up.

No such luck!

I gathered my screaming son and the Crocs that he would have to wear and carried him to the car. I quickly buckled him in his booster seat and put the Crocs on his feet. He immediately kicked them onto the floor. So be it. I would deal with that later. If at all.

Many of our recent drives have been a blast. Windows rolled down and the two of singing. Not today. Luckily the drive to his daycare is only a few minutes. But it was a loud few minutes. My son was still furious that he was not going to be wearing his favorite shoes to school today.

I pull up to his daycare, unbuckle him and with his lunch and Crocs in hand carry him crying into the building. I spend my days trying to bring joy into the lives of kids that I work with and yet on this day I couldn't bring joy to my own.

When we entered, the kids were in the hallway and getting ready to start their day. The kids, along with his teacher, could see that my son had been crying and that he was barefoot. And it was at that moment something beautiful and magical happened.

They all showed how excited they were to see him. Derek’s here!!! They complemented his Crocs and they made him feel like a rock star. His teacher picked him up and was able to convince him in two seconds that his Crocs were in fact awesome! She has helped to raise both of my kids and she is indeed a rock star herself!

I left knowing that I was going to be a few minutes late to work, but so what? My son was happy and in a place with people who truly love him and make him feel good about himself no matter what. No matter what!

This stressful thirty minutes of my morning taught me much. And once again it was a lesson taught to me by little ones. Kids are going to enter our buildings each day in various states of distress. My son has everything a child could ever dream of and his day was almost ruined by a missing shoe! Just imagine if I had to drop him off at a place where he would have been teased for coming in barefoot or scolded for not having his shoes on.

Each day children enter our buildings in different states of distress. It is our job to do everything we possibly can to alleviate that. Before we do anything else!

You forgot your homework That’s okay, we can find time to get it done later.

You missed breakfast? Here, have some of the muffin I was eating.

You got a bus referral? Okay, that’s done. Let's make the rest of this day awesome!

We mustn’t be too quick to judge. Our job is to make school a place that kids want to be. Places where they can feel safe and celebrated.

When our students come to us in distress, we must stop and think for a moment: what if this were my own child? What would I want to happen?

I now know that answer because I witnessed it firsthand.

I will do everything in my power to make them feel like the rock stars that they are. No matter if they are barefoot, late, angry or unprepared.

This is their time.

Not ours.


I hope you're proud of yourself for the times you've said 'yes,' when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to somebody else.


Fred Rogers







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Jon is currently the assistant principal in Dorchester County, Maryland. This is his seventh year serving as an assistant principal at the elementary level. Prior to becoming an administrator he served as a Math Coach and an elementary school teacher. During his ten years as a classroom teacher he taught first, second, fourth and fifth grades. During his sixth year teaching he earned Nationally Board Certification, which he held for ten years. For seven years he ran a Young Gentleman's Club that was aimed at helping young men reach their full potential.  

Jon received a B.A. from Furman University while majoring in Philosophy. He later went on to earn his B.S from Salisbury University while majoring in Elementary Education. Jon was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to student teach in New Zealand. He eventually received his M.A. degree from Salisbury University in Public School Administration.

Jon lives in Cambridge, Maryland with his amazing wife and two awesome children.

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Guest Monday, 17 June 2019