Lunch at the diner is nothing special. We usually see the same wait staff and eat the same food. Today, however, I got a big surprise.
My mom and I were looking over the pictures from my vacation when one of the servers complimented me on my sneakers. I looked at her and saw a flash in the eyes that made me ask her what her name was. When she told me, I couldn't believe it. She was a student from fourteen years ago. I told her, "I was your teacher!!!" She shouted, "Mrs. Victory!!!" and hugged my tightly.
|Aren't they cute?|
We then started talking about her and how she'd been. She was proud to tell me that she was married and had a child. She remembered being a difficult student. (She was.) She was one of those hard case kids whom everyone shook their heads about when they saw her coming down the hall. She was loud and disrespectful, and I felt I wasn't reaching her. But the kicker came when she told me, "But I learned from you. I learned that actions have consequences." It really touched my heart because it is the one thing I talk to my students about ALL THE TIME.
I asked her about her plans. She told me about attending college and studying criminal justice. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!
As we left the diner, she called out to me again. She hugged me again and then let me know something sad. Two of her classmates had passed - one due to drugs and the other because of gun violence. My heart was crushed.
It made me realize, you can't reach every kid. You can make yourself crazy trying to. But you try your best. Hold your students to high expectations. They may not all hear you, but the ones who do just might surprise you.
SIDE NOTE: I referred to this young lady as "she" a lot. My mother always told me not to use "she" because of something the nuns used to say, but I didn't feel right using her name and using a made up name didn't seem to fit either.