Material

I’ve only been doing this blog for about 2 weeks.  Each day I go to school, not knowing what will happen.  But somehow, there’s always something to write about.  Today, I’ve got two.  (See Angle Side Side for a laugh below).

I know that I’m there to teach students.  I’m not there to be their friend.  If they like me, it makes the job that much easier.  Some kids you hit it off with and others you don’t.  I think I hit if off with them more than I piss them off.

After school, the boy from my earlier “Context” post came by to get help.  He wanted to call his dad to tell him that he’d be after school with his Algebra teacher.  I stood by the phone while he talked to his dad, and then he passed the phone to me.  I told the dad that I was his Algebra teacher and he would be with me doing math.  I also said that the student seemed to be understanding and doing a good job on getting his work done.  As I’m saying this, the student gets a big smile on his face and starts hugging me.  I finish the conversation with the dad and hang up.

Apparently, because of what I said, his dad will now let him go to Chicago over the holiday break.  I didn’t know anything about this.  I was just trying to give a parent some encouraging news about their student.

For the next hour, the student works diligently on his equation solving problems and makes some real progress.  He even admits that he’s liking math now.  I tell him that he could take Geometry and Algebra 2 next year, Trig and Pre Calc the following year and Calculus when he’s a senior.  “Wouldn’t that be a trip for your dad!?”

Sometimes, I swear I can see the wheels turning in their heads.  This kid probably never had the thought that he could do Calculus.  He probably hadn’t thought about being “the smart kid.”  When I first met him, I thought he was a typical kid who would end up on the streets.  You can see he’s now thinking of possibilities that had never occurred to him.

It’s precisely these kinds of moments why I come back, day after day, year after year.  I may have said something to change the course of his life today.

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