I really didn't know what to expect when I heard those words. Most NYC schools don't have football teams so I have never taught a football player. This year I am meeting quite a few.
Tim is a wise ass. He has stupid comments about everything and loves being the center of attention. I even had to ask him to leave once. But Tim is also the first one to hand in homework and the first one to question what he doesn't understand in class. As I have gotten to know him, I see the more he understands, the less he acts out. I also realize how much he wants to succeed. He got an 87 on last exam.
Neil is also on the team. He is always the first one in the room and has questions on every homework problem he can't answer. He works harder than almost everyone I've ever taught. Neil actually understands the material but imagine my surprise when he admitted he couldn't multiply a two-digit number by a two digit number during the last exam. How does a kid get to college without this skill?
Donny comes into class singing every day. He is bright and articulate and a bit of a clown. He is also very bright and tutors many of the other students. Donny too is a football player.
Mitchell failed the class last year and is determined not to fail again. After failing the first exam, he hit the books and the math lab and got an 82 on the next one. He is also on the team.
Zane is quiet and respectful but knows next to nothing. I keep hoping some light will go off and he will start passing, but it doesn't look promising. That two hours a week study hall for football players is not helping him with math.
I guess what I am trying to say is we should never think in stereo types. Each one of these kids is different and special in their own way. Some are smart and hardworking. Some loud, some quiet. We need to judge everyone by their own actions, not by the team they are on.