Jun 5, 2011

I may be weird but so what

Yesterday, I was told that some of the students in my building think "I'm weird."  You know what I may be weird or unique and I'm going to embrace that.  It just means I march to the beat of my own drum which is okay.  The reason I can say that is because of the lesson I was taught the other night.

Let me take you back to almost six years ago, I had just had my second son and had been assigned to the middle school full time.  Some of the students I was about to meet would change my life but it was not until years later would I realize it.  The students and I had our ups and downs as they navigated through middle school and life as a teenager.  It was not always easy because there were times I wanted to pull my hair out.  But we came out in the end victorious knowing they were going onto the next stage of their life which was high school.

One student in particular has changed my life in a postive manner.  He made me laugh, scream out in frustration, and inspired me.  He used to say "Think in your head and you'll figure it out."  Now I say that to my current students when they get frustrated and want to give up.  He taught the whole building to "Twist, Twist, and Snap It" right before the Ohio Achievement Test during his eighth grade year.  And he gave a speech that was inspiring to all when he talked about being a fighter.  A fighter who fought to keep his grades up and to make postive choices in his life.

After eighth grade, we parted ways.  I went to the elementary school while he went onto high school.  We saw each other once in his freshman year.  Then we lost contact with each other.  During his senior year, he was part of the varsity football team that went to state.  The Sunday after the big game, which they lost :(, I went to the rally, nervous, not knowing how he would how he would react to me being there.  After the rally, I walked up to him and he turned around and said "Mrs. G."  Then he gave me a big bear hug.  We briefly talked and a picture was taken of the both of us in which I looked like a hot mess. 

After that afternoon, we kept in contact.  Soon it was almost time for his graduation and I wanted to be there for him and my other students.  I couldn't get a ticket.  He came through for me.  He made sure I had a ticket so I could be there to cheer him and the other students on.  Do you realize how special I felt at that moment?  

On graduation night, I lucked out where I was sitting because I was on the same side as B. so I got to watch him march in.  When he got his diploma, one of my co-workers told me my face showed the pride I felt for him.  She wished she had a camera so I could see the pride in my face.

As he was marching out, I stopped him and took a picture.  Then I ran up to him, gave him a big hug, and told him how proud I was of him.  (Boy that must have been a sight.)  

After they were done marching out, I went into the lobby area of the venue.  I congratulated students and got to speak to some that I hadn't seen in a long time.  I also got pictures with a few of them.  Finally I found him. and his family.  Then I got to see another student of mine.  I hadn't seen him since his freshman year in high school.  We talked and I took pictures for him.  One of the pictures is of him and I, his mother and him, the other student and his mom, and the other student and I.  Although I spent a lot of time with him, I also got to talk to other students.  One of the students I taught in elementary school saw me and just stared at me like I was a mirage.  Then he nervously said, "Mrs. G.?!?" then walked up to me and gave me a big hug.  We talked for a little while.

After talking with the student from elementary school and his mother, I once again became his photographer, taking lots of pictures.  Then I noticed it was getting late so I decided I needed to get home.  As I was leaving, he told me "Be Safe."  He has a heart of gold.

On my way out, I saw another one of my former students.  He thanked me all the help I gave him.  That made me feel special.

The reason I could accept my student calling me weird was knowing that even though I'm weird, I make a difference in students lives whether I realize it now or realize it in the future.  Sometimes I just need to be reminded of that. 

I need to take that to heart also.  I need to tell people they have made a difference in my life. 

So I will go on singing and dancing about "Criss Cross Multiply" and "To the Left, to the Left, you move the decimal to the left."  You may just remember me for teaching you something.  I know I remember my teachers who stepped out of the box to assure I would learn the concept.