Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Slice of Life: Visits 3/4
I am participating again this year in the Slice of Life challenge in which we write a slice every day in March. If you are interested in joining in, visit the Two Writing Teachers blog for more information.
Tonight was night two of conferences. I love the conversations, I love the opportunity to connect with parents and highlight the individuality of my students. I love the self-reflection that the conversations cause, even when they cause me to question my practices. But most of all, I love the visits.
Every year, without fail, Rigo comes to visit. This young man, who is now an adult, is one of the reasons I keep teaching. When he was in my fifth grade class, I worked hard with him. He was struggling to keep up, he needed encouragement and he needed to strengthen his skills. We worked hard and he knew I cared about his success. The class that he was in was one of those active and challenging groups of kids. I had recently moved up to fifth grade from first grade, and some of those kids sure made me work hard. Rigo played around a bit, but always tried to remove himself from those shenanigans. He had better things to do. He wanted to get an education. He knew that I was going to do everything that I could do to help every one of those students succeed and he worked hard. Then they all moved on to other schools for middle school. For many of my students, this is where my story with them ended. Not so with Rigo.
I look forward each year to checking in with this young man. He started visiting right away in sixth grade. He came to report how he was and what was happening with him. I have heard reports all through middle school and high school, until he graduated last year. It helped that his younger siblings have continued to go to my school so he has come along each year to come say hi. He makes a point to seek me out and say hello.
Tonight, I spoke for fifteen minutes with a kind and polite young man who is working part-time as a security guard and going to community college. He is planning to transfer to a local university and to study criminal justice. He wants to be a firefighter or a police officer. I am so proud of the young man that Rigo has become, and I am happy that he continues to want to share this with me.
I hope every teacher has at least one Rigo in her life to help her remember why she became a teacher.