Teenagers know if you are being sincere (or real, as they would say) and they didn’t cut you any slack if you didn’t know what you are doing. It makes me think of those t-shirts that say: Show No Fear because that is what it is like. Luckily, I had my behavior plan carved in my brain because I knew it would work. I knew I was a good teacher so I had confidence but I admitted to the students that I was not afraid to learn things right along with them.
I called home often and showed them that I saw positive things about them. We worked on their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses. By asking their opinions and giving them choices, they felt more in control and didn’t give me half the problems they gave the other teachers. But the bottom line was that I really enjoyed teaching them.
Now, move four years later to graduation. I taught some of these kids for four years and I was as proud of them as if I was their parents. Right after the ceremony, I went to the celebration area to congratulate them when one of the boys gave me a long box with a red bow on it. Inside was a dozen long stem red roses. Shocked, I looked at his mom and dad, who smiled and told me that he had bought it with his own money. He had always wanted to learn to read and was told that it would never happen. Apparently, I didn’t hear the same story and taught him to read. This was his way of showing his appreciation.
Knowing that I was able to make a difference in this boy’s life, it inspired me to continue to teach. I realize that as teachers we cannot change everyone or fix everyone, but if we can help one child, isn’t it all worth it? I don’t regret becoming a teacher and don’t think I ever will.