A Message to the Student Disrupting My Class
|- T.S. Eliot from quotesgram.com|
You, the one who keeps talking to other kids, across the room, when we've all just settled into our books.
You, the one who lost your book, abandoned your book again, and forgot what page you were on.
You, the one who needs a tissue, a sharpened pencil, some lotion. RIGHT NOW.
You, the one who doesn't show up on a regular basis, who always has an excuse for what's not done, who tells me that poem was stupid.
You, the one who has to use the restroom, go to the nurse, leave for an appointment.
You, the one who talks back after a simple request to have a seat, to throw away your candy wrapper, to take off your headphones.
You are more capable than you know. I see that you don't believe you can do this thing called school, so you cover your shame by slamming the door, walking out, losing assignments, or sleeping. But I know that if I meet you where you are, offer books that speak to you, listen to your stories, and dare to get to know you, there is a chance you'll see that there is something for you here. When I value you, there is a chance that you too will value you.
You are worth my time. I will answer questions, listen to your drafts, and read your words. I will find ways to talk with you in the hall, in extra help, at lunch. I have a new book that I'll ask you to try out for me to see if it's any good. And I will be at my door with a smile, welcoming you back, day after day after day.
You matter a lot to me. I want to peel back the layers of hurt that have accumulated for years before you arrived in my classroom. I want to meet the you that's hidden inside.
I believe that any day now might be your day. Tomorrow you might find that one book that hooks you. The next day you might find your voice in a poem or journal entry or even an exit slip. And who knows what might happen after that.
I just wanted to let you know that this teacher became a teacher for you. I wanted to make a difference, make an impact, change a life. I now know that can happen only when I'm willing to jump into the mess with you, to offer my hand over and over and over again, and that only in some cases will I actually see the results. More often I won't even know.
So, thank you, for reminding me that this is not a power struggle. It's teaching and learning in OUR class.