When I walked onto campus at night school this evening, I found one of my students from last year, Evelyn, sitting on one of the benches. I was very happy to see her, and we exchanged hugs.
"What are you doing here?" I asked her.
"I came to see you!"
"No, you didn't!" They always say that, and it's sweet, but I'm not the primary person they come to see. They just want to see everyone.
"Yes, Miss!" she exclaimed, "I've been waiting since about 4:30 p.m. They said you'd be here sometime but it was going to be a while."
She waited two hours to see me. Wow. Do I feel loved!
Evelyn was one of those students that by the end of the year, I was more like an auntie to her. She was in two of my classes, and because she didn't pass her writing proficiency exam, she was one of three of the remaining students I had in my remedial class during the 4th quarter.
I love it when the students come back to show us they are hanging in there and doing well. It was a major bright spot to my day.
I had a parent conference with one of my 8th graders today. He is on probation in the program for his grades, and during the 1st quarter he ended up with a D in my class. A few weeks into this quarter, he has an F. He has turned nothing in!
Now, as a person, I really like this kid. He is polite and he participates in discussions, but his follow-through is terrible.
I went into the conference shootin' straight with the mom and the boy. He claimed that he was not good at reading and writing, which is just fine, but I can't work with a pile of excuses. Bring me a craptastic piece of writing or stupid questions on a reading, and I can help, but bring nothing to the table and I'll bring out Queen Cranky.
The conference went pretty well. The boy was excited about the mock writing proficiency test we took today (and he was one of the last ones working because he was trying so hard ), and come to find out that his t.v. production teacher gave him some tips and a way to think about approaching writing. That's awesome that she has been able to help him make writing more relevant to his life. He is also doing very well in his Algebra class, so we looked at how he could transfer the strategies he uses to be successful in some of his other classes, including mine.
At the end, we set some goals and discussed the idea that he needed to come for help after school sometimes. Before we parted, his mother thanked me and told me that he was embarrassed around me. Embarrassed? I asked the boy if I had ever embarrassed him because although I can be
What she really meant was that sometimes he was too embarrassed to ask me for help. The boy confirmed that I had never done anything to embarrass him, but apparently I have a reputation that precedes me from his brother, who was never actually a student of mine, but he was such a...well...pain in the butt...that I certainly know who he is.
Poor kid. I had to explain to him that he need not be afraid. If he were to come to me for help, I'd be nice as pie. I just have no patience for excuses or laziness.
I think I'm a pretty nice teacher, but I'm not all sunshine and rainbows. More often than not, I just don't have much patience for shenigans. (Later in the year when I'm more tired I might be.) I'm not the kind of teacher that makes a great first impression. I kind of grow on the students, and even students like Evelyn have taken plenty of my wrath when they were acting like fools. The smart ones realize that in the end, I am mean because I care. My bark is worse than my bite, as they say.