All of my best teaching days have nothing to do with the day's lesson, but teach strategies for realistic “adulting” and being better people. Any day that results in a student becoming more resilient, more confident, and increasing the hippie in their heart is an awesome day. One of these started with a pep rally, a popular teenage girl, and an epic face plant into the gym floor. I, proud teacher, am taking a video of my step team/cheerleader squad when one of my students eats it. Face first. The video stops. The crowd erupts in laughter. She slinks over to the bleachers with her ice pack on her ankle. I went over and asked her if she was ok, and if she was really hurt or if it was something other than her ankle that was hurt. From the look in her eyes, I could see it was not her ankle, but her middle school pride that hit floor first. I took the risk. It went something like this… “Honey, this is one of the defining moments of your life, and what you do next will shape the kind of person you are. I know it is embarrassing, I know you want to hide, but I want you to suck all those feelings in. Take a deep breath and get the hell back out there with your team!” (Small cuss words are a risky but effective motivator for middle schoolers - use with extreme caution) I took the ice pack and threw it far back into the crowd, and she sprang back into action. The smile on her face was one of the best rewards I have had yet!