Sure, there can be some awkward and inappropriate momentsthat come with being a teacher with a social networking account. But let’s not forget about the wonderful parts. Like when students you worked with two and a half years ago friend you on your (respectable) MySpace page and write you email updates. Let’s certainly not overlook the wonderfulness of realizing that your 8th graders have really grown up and that your work with them may have had a bit to do with it. And we definitely can’t forget how trippy and awesome it is when they are mature enough to give advice about your own life. (I had told her my new job as a program director was rewarding, but really challenging.)
“Natasha” was not my easiest 8th grader. She looked sullen, she acted angry, and she was 16. I, her first-year teacher, was scared. During our time together in the resource room, she maybe said three dozen words to me-- 90 percent initiated by me. But, oh golly, she learned. This young lady, who had worked on addition and subtraction for the past two years in middle school, memorized her multiplication and division tables in three months, and was working steadily toward pre-algebra. She didn’t speak to me and rarely made eye contact, but after awhile, I didn’t care. She was learning. And apparently, as she’s moved into high school, she hasn’t stopped.
”...Well nothing is hard if you put your mine to it. If there anything you can do, I’m petty sure you can do it. I mean you help me get in high school, I’m really really sure you can help them as well. Like the sign you had on the wall, “never ever ever ever ever ever give up.” right?”
What a heart-warming and insightful way to start the week. This is totally why I teach for America.
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