Friday, September 07, 2007

Success Story

150+ kids a semester, two semesters a year, over 30 years of teaching, it is hard to remember the kids I've taught. Unfortunately, some, even the best ones, are forgotten as soon as the term is over. Some, stand out in my mind forever.

One such kid, or I should say man, because he graduated a few years ago, is D. D was tenth grader taking a ninth grade math class. he was the best dressed kid I ever taught. When I asked him about his clothing, and how he could afford such expensive stuff, he always told me about his bargains, how he knew how to shop at places like Marshall's and Century 21. He never ever paid full price. He was always trying to get over. He had a certain charm and he had given the school a series of wrong phone numbers so no one was able to get in touch with his mom.

I liked D right from the start. When he started playing games, coming to class late, not doing homework, I tried to call home. The phone number he had given me was to the waiting room of the LIRR. Not one of the school offices had the correct number either. Not wanting a mere sophomore to get the better of me, I went home and hit the computer searching both his last name and the name he gave me for his mom. After three calls, I stumbled upon his grandmother. I had a nice conversation with her, got his mom's number and grandma's assurance that mom would be informed of the conversation. D came into class the next day, head down, but happy. Happy that someone cared enough to put an end to his BS.

D had an okay term with me, passing, but barely passing. From my class, he went into a few other classes where although he had lots of difficulty with the math, he managed to pass. Everyone loved him and all the teachers did their best to get him through. At graduation, he even won an award for being the most improved senior in the graduating class.

The reason I am writing about D tonight is that I just ran into him in the paint department of Home Depot. He stopped helping a customer and we hugged as soon as we saw each other. I couldn't stop saying enough good things about him. The customer and my husband were both impressed. My husband remembered the LIRR story. He has been working there since he graduated high school. He is also going to college and is trying to get on the police force. D is learning disabled. This has not held him back. He has goals and aspirations. He has worked consistently for years. He is a fine member of society, a son that a mother will always be proud of.


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

I think a lot of our students are just begging us to put an end to their BS. When we do, they often make dramatic gains in the art of becoming truly human, as D did.

Thank you for hanging in there for over 30 years and putting up with a lot of BS, not only from students, but from people like Principal Suit as well, so that you can help to turn kids' lives in the right direction. The kids will need you for as long as you can stand the BS. Can you do another 10 years?

I love this story!

Pissedoffteacher said...

Sorry, two years at most. And, I am considering making this my last year.

beth said...

Wonderful sotry!! :)

Oh, and thanks. I do have direct deposit. I still call it checks. So it'll probably go in Wednesday? Or will it go in Friday? Likely.

LadyHatton said...

This is why you have stayed so long. You are a wonderful teacher and person. Wish we could clone you!