It was once said to me teaching is worth it for the handful of students who you really get to impact. In my Pre-teacher life I thought this sounded naive. In my current teaching life I’d say you’re not kidding. I’m not sure how many of those kids I have for sure, but there is one kid who I think is the sole reason I can make myself get out of bed everyday. For the sake of this post, we will just call him S.
S started off the year quiet in my class and just blending in with the rest. Then he started to fall behind but was a very genuine kid and I called home to see what I could do to help and tell his mom she had a great son. Since then I’ve taken him out of study hall to tutor him, I’ve worked on career inventories with him, and just had some good discussions about his future. He has maintained an A all three quarters so far in my class.
I was walking out of school Thursday and the wind blew so I ducked my head when a voice came yelling: don’t look so happy! It was S’ mom. I went over and talked to her for like 45 minutes while she waited for him to get out of practice. She explained how he has changed this year with no missing assignments and a new class rank of 32 of 350 (which he brags about always). I told her from my end he was doing great and I was so proud of him. Then she looked at me and said – you are the reason for all of this, you’ve reached him on such a deep level, he looks up to you and Im so thankful you came into his life. I was speechless. It’s that kind of impact that I’ve only ever dreamed of having.
My roommate asked me last weekend what about S made him so special. I told her I don’t know, and I really don’t. He is a 14 year old who comes to school every day and complains about the stupid rules just like the rest. I think what’s different is S asks questions. He watched a debate on TV last week (unprompted and unassigned) and made a list of words he didn’t know so we could talk about them.
I challenged him to get an A on our unit test that we took Friday. I just graded his test – 95.6%. Just called his mom to let her know! So proud!
So, in closing, why do I write this whole post? Well, as the spring semester goes on with still a week left……I need reasons to get out of bed when I’m exhausted beyond belief. I find it in this one student. His mom may think her son needs me, but I need him too. To any struggling readers, I hope you can find your S. He makes me be a better teacher, and a better person.