Patience has its own rewards.

I've been teaching him for over a year now. I greet him at the door each week before class, but he only hides and looks away with uncertainty in his eyes. Sometimes I catch him watching me, when he thinks I'm not looking. I smile, and again he looks away. I know he's happy to be in Kindermusik. His face usually beams while he plays the instruments with his mom and dad. However he struggles to branch out and interact with anyone except his parents, so we continue our delicate dance around each other each week. Sometimes I wonder if I am dancing with the "elephant in the room", but all of that changed this week.
When I greeted him at the door, I caught a subtle smile before he looked away. It played at the corner of his mouth with a hint of impishness and was gone as quickly as it appeared. I saw it several more times, even if only briefly, throughout the class. While listening to the story time, he pointed in answer to a question I asked him. This was something completely new, and I was thrilled that he was finally getting comfortable enough in his social skills to participate on this level. Then the unexpected happened. We were about to close the class with a goodbye song, and he walked right up to me, looked me in the eye, and spoke. Not only spoke, but he took my hand to show me more about the question that he had. I tried to remain cool and calm as we walked together hand in hand. I wanted to appear as though this was totally expected, but inside I was trying to absorb this unexpected turn of events- to savor everything about this moment. It's the little victories that make teaching so rewarding to me. It's a joy to witness a child reaching out to accomplish something that I know was a true challenge for them. Those moments are often few and far between, and there is a fine line between challenging that growth without pushing so hard that you crush their desire to achieve it. 

I guess it's true after all. Patience does have its own rewards.