Wednesday, January 07, 2009
The first week in January brings back last years students, those on break from college who miss the warmth and love they felt in high school. I've had many visits from my AP calculus kids. They all return beaming with pride and boasting about acing their freshman math class. I love the fact that they credit their high school knowledge for the success they have achieved in college. It does my ego good to hear them come into my current class and tell my current students what a great teacher I am!
This years visitors haven't only been the high achievers. Many of the "strugglers" have also returned. I got the biggest hug from R today. R was in my class a few years ago and to put it mildly, he was slightly nuts at the time. That year, there were lots of Jewish holidays on school days and R tried to convince all his teachers he was Jewish (he's not) so he could take off. Every Friday, he would say "shabbat shalom" as he left my class.
As R was hugging me today, he said that I was his favorite teacher at Packemin HS. He said I looked out for him and he appreciated it. I didn't think he appreciated me taking away a big metal rod from him. Although I knew he was harmless, I did not think it was wise for an African American kid to ride the bus and walk the neighborhood with this weapon in his hand. And, while he did not appreciate my taking it away from him at the moment, he is glad now that I did. He complained about another teacher who always talked down to him and did not have the patience for his stupidity.
You can't hear a pin drop in my classroom. You never could and you never will. Maybe kids are losing out because of the noise but the affect I had on R and kids like him is important and something you can't get in the room where you can hear the pin drop. No teacher is perfect. I know, I am very far from that but I serve a purpose. I can reach kids like R. I can get them to pass. I can get them to feel good about themselves and give them some good feelings about school.
R did not go straight to college from high school. He needed some time to grow up. Well, he is finally ready to go back. He is going to start the local community college at the end of this month. He might not be as successful (at the moment or even ever) as some of the AP kids but, I was as happy, or even happier to see him than I was to see them.
I can't wait to see who else is going to stop by to visit.