Tiana! Just saying the name makes me smile (if not giggle). She was an amusing, unpredictable, jovial grade 8 student... and she remains the same in grade 12. Such a great personality! And so funny!
Of course, Tiana doesn't always MEAN to be funny. Sometimes it just...uh...happens. I remember when we were starting algebra in grade 8. I was trying to make the point that you can use any letter you want to represent an unknown quantity, but some letters are better than others.
Me: Like "o" for example. I recommend that you NEVER use "o" to represent an unknown. It's just too confusing. It looks too much like a zero. What other letters would be confusing to use?
Tiana immediately starts waving her arm excitedly in the air.
Me: Yes, Tiana?
Me (expecting a comment about "t" looking like a "+" sign): Good! And why would that be, Tiana?
Tiana (very proudly): My name starts with the letter T.
Too good! Of course, this is not my favourite Tiana story. Sadly, I can not relate that one here in complete detail. It's a little too creepy to post. Suffice to say that Tiana "received a text from me" (or so she thought) that contained some very strange comments to be coming from a teacher. Thank goodness she eventually realized it was from her Cheer coach (is that what she is called? A Cheer coach?) and not me. Of course, Tiana related the whole story to me (and, in fact, the whole class) one day when it suddenly crossed her mind. I was practically screaming at everyone (particularly the ELL students): "Is everyone clear that I DID NOT SEND THAT TEXT to Tiana?!?! She just THOUGHT it was from me!!!!".
Here's something I am now used to but used to shock me about Tiana: throughout a chapter of Math, Tiana will "sometimes" (in other words: ALWAYS!) fall behind a little. She will ask questions in class which will make me think: "Uh oh. She's not getting this". She's prone to missing a class here or there. She will seem confused by the material.
Doesn't seem too promising, right? Well, the incredible (and GREAT!) thing is that Tiana does well on her tests. EVERY test. Every time. I'm not sure when everything suddenly "clicks" for her but it always seems to do just that. I have learned to roll with her initial difficulties and concerning (if not odd) questions. This girl is a good Math student. I now have complete faith in her.
One thing I have NEVER doubted about Tiana is what a great heart she has. She has always been so warm to me. I have seen her with her friends and she obviously appreciates and loves them a great deal. When she speaks of her brother (the one and only Damjan) you can tell she is very fond and very proud of him (she used to do this a LOT in grade 8. Not so much this year). She always has a smile on her face and is quick to share a laugh.
Tiana, you truly are like a ray of sunshine when you walk into my classroom (and that's saying something since you usually walk in late. Hahaha!). I thank you for always being so generous, so thoughtful, so cheerful, and so positive. May you never lose your wonderful way of looking at and approaching life. Someone asked me this week what my favourite quote of all time is and - for some reason - I think you embody it perfectly:
"Life is too important to be taken seriously"
- Oscar Wilde
Keep enjoying life, Tiana, and refuse to take anything too seriously!! Good luck to you!