Before I get to the good stuff, let me tell you a few things I learned about my students this week.
One kid's mom is a stripper, another kid's dad recently came from across the country to try to get custody of his son. Another kid's dad was just convicted of killing his mom. A girl was suspended for having pot at school (she said she was holding it for another kid). A different girl told me she was raped last year. And finally, my former gang member said he lives with his grandma because his mom won't let him live with her and wonders why he gets yelled at when he walks his pit bull without a leash.
Wow...putting that all together in a list makes it sound really bad! I literally learned each of these facts in the last 2 weeks. Most in the last 3 days. And the saddest part is that this is only a snapshot. There are so many more stories that I haven't heard. And this high school is extremely average (if not above-average). Middle Class neighborhood, 40% poverty (some busing), but high-performing.
I know this might sound like an odd beginning to my "I love my job" post, but this is exactly why I love my job. The boy who lives with his grandma said I was "tight" after I made him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. I literally teared up when the girl who was raped (who was abused growing up) said in her college essay that her 9th grade teacher helped her realize that she had potential in life and inspired her to take more advanced classes in school and stop shop-lifting and lying. Guess who her 9th grade teacher was?
But this is the final inspiration for this post, an email I got from a student who graduated last year. She was a B/C student who hated English. She currently attends community college. Here's the email:
Hey Mrs. GG,
I know this is a little weird, especially since I probably wasn't that great of a student in your class last year, but I just wanted to let you know that your class helped me a lot. I've been receiving A's on all of my essays so far in my English class and as much as I hated annotating articles in your class, I find it so helpful now. I can't write an essay without doing so. Okay, just thought I'd let you know! Thanks for all you help when I was in your class. Hope you're doing well. Bye.
I love teaching, and English, but even more...I love getting to know and help these kids turn into people : )
I know I don't have my own baby (yet), but I do have hundreds of student-babies. That's a start.