I know many details have been left out as I sit exhausted at this computer tonight. That young man, the one I helped so many years ago – helped me tonight.
I woke up this morning and made it to duty sort of on time.
As I monitored the progress of my 1st period class and that of the 3 the day before I realized that not one student had managed to turn in the day’s assignment correctly or completely. Partly due to tech glitches, but MOSTLY due to the refusal to read directions, the inability to follow directions, and the ridiculous notion that if the answer requires thought then it remains beyond their reach.
Moving on to 3rd period this morning, a student walked into my classroom, threw is Chromebook on my desk and said “You were my favorite teacher” and as he turned and made it halfway out the door he shouted “I’m dropping out!!!!” Then he slammed the door as hard as he could. I tried to cut him off in the parking lot only to run into the administrators also hot on his trail. I had to return to the students in my room (well, at the door watching every step I took). They wrangled him back inside. My principal later informed me that they talked him off the ledge and he will, in fact, be returning. Whew.
During lunch I covered a class for another teacher a watched one student cheat shamelessly on a test, while the others in the room poured their hearts and souls into the assessment. (Deep cleansing breath).
During the rest of planning I had to type up all the problems technology gave me the last two days and beg for a solution. Tomorrow we will be reading from a textbook.
During the last class of the day I had the occasion to sit a student down in front of me to tell her that she is the reason I come to school every day – A wonderful project of our librarian. She recorded it. The student cried – and told me that I’m cheesy. I loved it.
Also during that class we had to start off very harshly, as students have NOT been hitting deadlines for our yearbook publication. 100 emails and problems to address. Finally, tech support showed up – God bless her at 3pm on a Friday afternoon, still chugging away to make my technology work for my students.
By the end of that class we were dancing, celebrating small victories of the day and embracing the weekend ahead. Well, not the tech person – she continued to chug.
After school I sat in on a meeting of our student group that tries to bring coexistence to our school. Their struggles are real.
Tonight at dinner I ran into a former student. As my husband and I sat at table next him. He looked familiar at first glance, but when I saw his smile all the memories from his 9th grade year came flooding back – everything but his name. Ugh – I wish I could remember their names, especially when they weigh so heavy on my heart sometimes. Of course later when he said it – I could not believe I could have ever forgotten it. This young man had the kind of smile that made his whole face shine and you couldn’t help but smile back. A young man filled with talent, charm, and whole lot of teenage angst. That angst got him into some trouble that the charm could not get him out of, so he ended up going to another school and he was gone from our lives…like so many students that touch our hearts. When I approached him at the checkout, it took a moment but then the recognition shocked across his face. “Mrs. Bertram!!” He looked healthy and happy and shared his excitement about his future. Man, that made my day.
I know many details have been left out as I sit exhausted at this computer tonight. That young man, the one I helped so many years ago – helped me tonight. In fact, I think it is pretty safe to say that he inspired today’s post. It’s the first time I have posted in over a year, I think. I’ve been stuck. Stuck in it all. I am finding my way out. If you write you know what a big deal that is; and if you don’t write – you’ll have to trust me. When an individual can get you over a year long writer’s block – it’s a very big deal. Thank you, young man.
It was a good day.