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Students being teachers

May 15, 2011 pm31 3:16 pm
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Nah, not what you think. Not group work. Not seniors helping in freshmen classes (though I do that, and when it works it is wonderful).

I have a couple of former students, class of ’06 (my school’s first graduating class) with jobs in schools. One of them is a teacher, subbed last year, appointed this year, in a middle school near here, surviving quite ok. Another is a teacher’s aide in an elementary school in the South Bronx. And then there is TMW.

TM, for short, presented for high school with enthusiasm, but with the behavior of an excitable 4th grade boy. He wouldn’t stay in his seat! He called out. He made jokes, and was constantly laughing out of turn. He wasn’t bad, just exasperating. Middle school teachers, what do you do when a child literally rolls around on the floor?

But he grew. He got bigger. And emotionally he matured. I think he was almost behaving like a reasonable freshmen when he graduated.

A couple of years ago I needed some help from alumni, and a few showed up, including TMW. At the end I thanked him for coming. “But Mr. 2718” he said, “of course I came. You asked me.” I laughed. “In four years, TMW, how many times did you do something just because I asked?” He laughed too.

Revenge is sweet. TMW is now working as a dean in Brooklyn. Today he wrote me this:

“I often find myself disciplining students for the same shit I used to do. I’ve mastered the art of not cracking up at the ridiculousness of the youth…”
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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Zulma permalink
    May 15, 2011 pm31 3:25 pm 3:25 pm

    I love this type of story! We need to share with others how our students do turn around and the affect teachers make on them.

    JD, this is truly a feel-good-to-be-a-teacher moment and I enjoyed it. Thank you.

  2. rantingwoman permalink
    May 15, 2011 pm31 3:38 pm 3:38 pm

    I wonder how these young kids got jobs so easily? I thought there was a freeze on all new hirees.

    I did enjoy your story and agree with Zulma that is is what makes it all worth while.

    • May 15, 2011 pm31 3:43 pm 3:43 pm

      The teacher’s aide has been working there for several years (got hired, I think, without a bachelors). The teacher was hired in a middle school in the Bronx for this September – there was a Bronx exception. And TMW is working as a “dean” but not on a teacher line. I don’t know the particulars, but am fairly certain his actual title is non-UFT.

  3. May 15, 2011 pm31 4:23 pm 4:23 pm

    this made me smile. hope they continue to have success and stick around making a difference. way to go helping them get there. :)

  4. dkzody permalink
    May 16, 2011 am31 10:34 am 10:34 am

    If it’s any consolation, I had a student years back who was still running around the room and rolling on the floor when he was a senior. He too went on to be successful in college and career. That’s why I never take high school behavior too seriously.

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