Saturday, May 22, 2010

Why I love teaching

Some of you may know that I am working at a tiny, alternative, private high school/tutoring center right now.  Let me tell you what that really means--a place for extremely wealthy, extremely messed up kids.

While most of my kids are actually pretty good, I have one that makes me want to pull my hair out.  Literally.  He is a suicidal, manic depressive eighth grader with straight F's who has already been suspended three times this year for fighting and coming to school high.  Oh, he also hates his parents vehemently, lies continually, and cheats flagrantly.  He's a real peach.

So you might be thinking that this post should be entitled "Why I hate teaching" . . . Not so.  Working with him every afternoon has given me the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of the sweet, funny, real Quinn underneath all of the "issues."  This is certainly the exception and not the norm, but I love when it happens.

He came in on Thursday determined to be a butt head.  He hadn't done any of the make-up work he was supposed to, got kicked out of his dad's house, and was suspended for the third time.  I braced myself for a torturous hour of forcing him to do history worksheets one problem at a time.  Then, while perusing his lengthy list of missing assignments, I came upon an assignment to write a love sonnet.  I couldn't resist.  Even though he looked at me like, "You can't be serious," I persisted.  By the end of the hour, we were cracking up and having a genuinely great time together.

Want to see the finished result?  It may not have ten syllables per line or keep the same tense throughout, but I am proud of him.  I think it is pretty darn clever!

My Love Sonnet
My true love has hair like silk,
I love to see it blow in the breeze.
It's black as night and white as milk,
I love to see you play among the trees.

I love how you have so much energy,
You can always make me smile.
The sight of you fills my soul with glee,
I can't stand not to see you for awhile.

You are a shining star.
Just to see you makes me weep.
Without you I would probably be stuck at some bar.
I love it when you chase sheep . . . 

Of all the things that are precious to me,
I could never survive w/o* my border collie.   
*Yes, his final draft said w/o :)

And that is why I love being a teacher!  Days like that make all the crappy days worth it.


Sara Lee said...

I love it! I was like what a weird girl. But my younger brother is the same way. He does so many bad things to his body, but he is so funny at times and loves history and his dogs. I wish there was a secret way of getting them to just snap out of it.

Rachel said...


Sarah McK said...

Love it!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I found you my little Laura bug! I got to spend time with your most darling nephew and gorgeous sis and not-so-bad bro-in-law and man, it made me miss my Westover girls!!! You are SUCH an inspiring teacher. I think of the teachers that teach Mitchell and it takes certain people to work with kids that are different. I love this post and I can't wait to begin blogstalking you!!!

LOVE that he was talking about his dog!

Alaska Young said...

I, having stumbled upon your blog, am a little confused..are you and Sam married..sorry if that's a dumb question, but I just started following you today..

Kirsten said...


I didn't even know you had a blog. I just read a bunch of your posts and really want to come visit you! Dag nab it.. why can't I be rich. Are you going to Colorado for any holidays?