Day 280- James*

It would be easy to get caught up in my work instead of enjoying my job.  I am constantly doing "stuff."  I am lesson planning, creating assessments, developing materials, grading papers, going through late work, communicating with parents... there's always 40 hours of work to do in a 24 hour day.

I must admit that I'm proud of myself, though.  Each day I ground myself in what is important-- my students.  I know that we've only been in school for two months, but I'm proud just the same.  I will not allow myself to feel bogged down or burned out because all of those other things are just the "stuff," the means to an end.  What really matters are those kids and the 50some minutes I get to spend with them every day. 

In typical teaching fashion, I had a million and one things to do today.  I will be in meetings all day tomorrow, so I had to create sub plans.  I had things to grade and parents to contact and reports to analyze and assessments to create... I was hoping to get a lot done after school, since I won't be in the building tomorrow and will be gone at a wedding out of town all weekend. 

"We plan, God laughs."

I barely got any of that done after school today.  Instead, I did something much more important.  Even though I know that the audience for this blog is small and that no one would ever go blabbing about my kids, I'd like to keep the details of this student's situation to a minimum in order to protect his privacy. 

I had a student stay well beyond the designated afternoon tutoring time today.  The reason for this was quite simple.  He did not want to go home.  It is not a good place.  At all.  We'll leave it at that.

Instead, he stayed at school for a while.  We chatted about the amazing strides that he has made with his grades, and I encouraged him to talk about his future.  I want him to know that he can dream and overcome and that things don't always have to be the way that they are now.  He went out in the hall for a minute to "get his stuff from his locker" and returned with a broom to sweep my room.  I told him it really wasn't necessary, but he insisted.  He kept asking what he could do to help in my room.  What I wanted to tell him was that the best thing he could do for me would be to allow me to help him. 

I thank God for putting James* in my classroom.  I had the honor today of giving a scared kid a place to feel safe.  All I have done is let him know that I like him and that I believe in him and that I'm proud of him.  He has shared with me that he failed all of his classes last year, but this year he has good grades.  He listens to directions, tries to keep other kids in his class in line, and is fiercely loyal.  I am thrilled to play a small part in what will hopefully be the time in his life where he realizes that where he is going is exponentially more important than where he comes from.  I am so incredibly thankful that I am in a position where I might have an impact and change the course of his life forever.  That's what gets me up in the morning and that's what I stay up thinking about at night.  That's the "stuff" that really matters.

Thank you, James, you made my day.      


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