We must remain within earshot of our last terrifying moment
I set out for my own classroom today – Room 202. This morning my palms were sweating by 5:30 as I stepped out into the already cooling dawn of the South Dakota prairie. Immediately all feelings of preparedness and confidence I felt after my training at Institute slid out of my mind and into the quiet corners of my classroom.
I frantically printed my syllabi and went over the first words that would come out of my mouth – becoming less brilliant than I imagined a few weeks ago by the second. An announcement over the intercom reminded me it was time to herd the 10th graders into the library to go over the student handbook.
As the session commenced, it was obvious which students planned to disrupt the goings-on of the first day proceedings. Prominent among them was a young gentleman with a polo hanging to his knees and a hat to match it. Just minutes after the presenter covered the no cell phone policy, this student pulled his phone out of his pocket, answered it and stepped over bodies to leave the room as he began a conversation. I was standing in the door way and he pushed past me to finish the talk everyone had been privy to. He walked back past me as if nothing happened, took his seat and when the presenter tried to confront him he cut her off and said, “I’m back now, keep rolling with the program.”
I was livid – that I didn’t do anything and that he was acting this way. I immediately crossed him off of the list of kids I’d care to impact.
Just a few hours later guess who waltzes into my classroom?
I was thankful that his buddies weren’t in my class and he was quiet with his head on his desk most of the period.
I finished my day with little interruptions from students and less than satisfied with my own preparation; but satisfied that there seemed to be good students that were eager to learn.
At home after a long day, I’m in my recliner looking over my student surveys when I come across the student with the unlimited mobile to mobile minute cell phone plan. The front of the survey indicated that he failed English 10 and Speech 10 last year – I think to myself, “I’m not surprised.”
On the back of the survey, I provided a space for my students to write me a letter detailing anything else they think I should know. Here is what he wrote:
I am 17. I love reading it is my escape & writing but I can not spell that well. Im a sophomore & I want to be able to walk across the stage by 2011 so I need you to help me out K?
This student reminded me why I’m here.
It is hard.
The hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I’ve got lots of work to do.