I looked at my next quarter’s roster, once I found out how on the software, and was sad to see that a certain student, the star of the school, light of every teacher’s eye because of his empathy, hard work, smiles, and sweetness. The students all love him too–not in a coolness or popularity sense, but because he’s kind to everyone. He’s one who takes the time to come up and say a few words that make one’s day better. He has trouble with concepts, but keeps trying. Last week I overheard him say, as he worked with the para educator, “You just have to keep trying and not let yourself get lost.” I wrote that on the white board and sent it around to the staff. He didn’t think anything of it, seeing it up there in marker. It’s just who he is. A kind of Forrest Gump without the Asberger’s.
For about a week he would come in every day after school to do test corrections, improve past assignments, and work on concepts in biology. And chat. Once he said he admired me because I wrote things down. Not sure when he saw me do that–maybe was referring to a reflection piece I read out at the beginning of the quarter, or just my daily jottings. Neither of which I consider much of a feat, but for him… Yet I could see someone following him around and writing down the insightful things he says. But mostly he listens, because what he says is so worth responding to at depth.
I will also have a few new, or current from the rest of the school, students, with the promise of the chaos of lot of surprise new registrations in the first few weeks of the quarter–students who have had it up to there with regular school. So I’ll have to plan generic stuff, or stuff easy to catch up on later, or skip entirely, for those weeks. And they say the current students will have a hard time adjusting to the newbies–there’s a sorting process to that, a gradually finding one’s place, even though there’s also, I sense, a readiness to at least see new students as being in somewhat the same boat with school being a problem. If there are pretty girls, there will be a special kaffuffle, with those dual tensions of attraction, both by girls as friends and allies, and to guys as, well, what kind of girl, anyway? and testiness.
I was pretty oblivious to most of that when I first came–too much to take in. I was amazed at the insider information my colleagues had, and how they used it to try to support and redirect and keep an eye out, as well as take preventative measures. Rumors of fights and tears, and who was meeting whom during class between the buildings, and the drama. Lots of to do over the new girl with sparkle makeup around her eyes, which still hasn’t really settled. And evidence of dysfunctional relationship patterns, opportunities (for the teachers in the know) to discuss jealousy, possessiveness, controlling behaviors, boundaries, and stuff.
It’s the shock of the day after a weekend. I’m off to swim to get my biorhythms evened out, tire my body so my mind won’t be so much on the jump after my morning coffee. My attitude of choice being a kind of open, loving, no caring too much attitude with a bit of “oh well, can’t expect too much” in it. Gets me in the right frame of mind so some good things will actually go down in my classroom, if I keep trying don’t let myself get lost along the way.