The other day I posted about Debbie, the student with a ton of brains she is not applying that is clearly leading her down the road of dropping out… and goodness knows what else will follow. When 15 year olds in low income communities abandon their education, my faith that good results will blossom from their actions is dubious.
HOWEVER, there are successes as well. Like my main man Eugene (as pictured here with me on this fine Thursday morning as we are working on writing expository essays).
Wow, do I adore this kid. Full of charm, brains and heart. And 2 months ago, he was clearly on the road to joining hand-in-hand with Debbie on the road to Nowhere (or at least nowhere I felt was going to work out to his ultimate benefit). Yet, much in the way that I tried to win Debbie over with nuancing, screaming, cajoling, applying a soft touch and taking a hard line, so I did the same with Eugene.
And it seems to have worked. I got his schedule changed, spent a little bit of extra time every day checking in with him — we shared some laughs, some mentoring time, yapped it up about hoops, and so on.
Today Eugene showed me his outline for his expository essay and it’s rock solid. And he hasn’t missed a day of school in seven weeks. His self-esteem is high (he wears his heart on his sleeve), his enthusiasm is infectious and he’s already thinking about where he wants to go to college. (NOTE: My classroom is a walking advertisement for the University of Southern California. I went to USC, remain a loyal alum, and pimp the awesomeness of college every chance I get.)
Feels good to be able to share this. And isn’t that the thing about education? One day the kids will break your heart and another day they will make your inner spirit soar — and all of it happens without rhyme or reason ata rapid fire click. No two days are ever the same.
What a day! Here’s hoping for many, many more!!!
NOTE: I took this photo with Eugene and told him that I believed this was the official day he put himself on the right track… and that when he graduates in a few years and gets accepted to a university, he’s gonna come back into my room and I am gonna show him this photo. And we’re both gonna cry.