thank you, girls

despite my last entry, this school year has been 1000x better than last year…

the overwhelming majority of the kids i have are ‘into the student gig’ and ‘on top of their jobs’ in the classroom…

it’s a good feeling, it’s the best feeling…especially when measured against last year’s trials and tribulations…

it’s a much-needed reprieve…so much so that i’ve dubbed it ‘my recovery year’…

and i’m thankful for it…

i’m also thankful for a group of girls that i had in my class last year…a group of girls that got unintentionally pushed aside and lost in the turmoil and craziness that shrouded the last school year…pushed aside, but not forgotten…you see, they deserve mentioning, they deserve recognition…for the way they showed up in my class last year…

their names are natalie, lindsay, erin and sarah…

and last year, at the end of every class they said, ‘thank you’ as they left the room…and it was a genuine salutation…though a bit shocking, by today’s standards in public education…

so, ladies…here’s to you, here’s me raising a glass of coca-cola to you right now…

it didn’t go unnoticed, it mattered…

and i appreciate it!

cheers!

joe

joe has been in my class for two years (the curriculum is set up so that you can take four semesters of criminal justice if you want to (and if your schedule “allows”)…

joe is a rarity among adolescent boys in today’s world…

because joe is the real deal; little about joe is a “front” or “false”…he possesses real self-confidence and bearing and maturity…and holds a worldview that, while not perfect, is truly positive…

joe has the potential to be a great man…

a few weeks back, i told the students that we would be watching freedom writers in class as a part of that week’s lesson (as a teacher, it is a truly inspirational tale–erin gruwell did some amazing work with those kids!)…a movie which usually gets groans from the boys, especially in a criminal justice class…and there was a groan that was voiced by one of the guys…but, joe cut it off…instantly…saying…

dang, d….you’re getting all inspirational on me now…it’s a good movie…makes me want to volunteer and donate all my money to the community…

he was saying it in a very awesome way, kind of giving me a hard time…but, mostly lending his positive support to the movie choice…legitimately so…and the other guys got on board with it too…they got on board with it because joe said it, because joe is a leader…to the positive…

not in some cheap-ass, rose-colored, leave it to beaver way…but, with gravitas (a word i’ve never used to describe a teenage boy before;)…and because he can communicate in that way, he can speak with some authority to his peers…in a way that immediately wins them over…

iron sharpens iron, and so one man sharpens another…

it is something that i’ve appreciated all year–and especially, during this year…one that’s been really tough, one where i’ve been ‘on the ropes’ more than not…

but, joe’s been there (many times)…in my corner, and i can pretty much guarantee that i wouldn’t have made it this far without him…

in a couple of months, when he graduates…i plan on shaking his hand and telling him…

thanks for ‘having my back’ this year, i appreciate it…keep on keepin’ on… with ‘what you’re doing’…you’re a good man…you give me hope…

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