Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sometimes They Still Surprise Me


I know most of my students pretty well. I work really hard at knowing them. I learn about boyfriends/girlfriends, out of school activities, jobs, sports, music, family, books. You name it, I really try to find out about it.

But, once in awhile, one of them surprises me.

Today was one of those surprises. It started with a phone call...

"Sorry to bother you in the middle of class. H has some questions about some poetry you are doing in creative writing. Can he come down or are you in the middle of a lecture?"

Lecture? Me?

"Send him down. My students are recording today. I've got the time to visit with him."

Now, you should know that this is the same young man I wrote about last week. We're getting to the meat of his story, but it still has a ways to go.

He saunters in. I really expect to tell him that he doesn't have to write poetry. I just want him to try a draft of it.

"So," he begins, "last night, when I got home from work, I wrote this and I just wondered if this is what you want."

He hands me his phone.

"You wrote a poem after work last night?"  H does not do homework.

"Yea. I write a lot of poetry."

"You do?????" I am incredulous.  This was not what I expected. Not from H. And the poem--it's really good.

"Yea. Why do you think I took Creative Writing? I have lots of poems at home."

"Really? Will you let me read them?"

"I have to type them all up???"

"No. just bring them to me and let me read them. You can use some of them for this assignment."

"OK. Sure. I'll bring them in tomorrow."

We also had a conversation about sharing--I've figured out that he comes to me during his study hall because he doesn't want to conference during class when his friends are around. I promised I wouldn't share it. I promised I wouldn't let his friends know. But I let him know that I thought the poem was really good.

H comes to class next hour with a typed copy of the poem for me. But first, HE SHARES WITH HIS FRIENDS! They think he copied and pasted. They google it. They don't find it. They ARE impressed.

And now, it hangs on my Pride Wall.

I love surprises.


18 comments:

  1. He was walking down the hallway in between classes with it in his hand. He waved his poem around and shouted that I needed to read it. How exciting!

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    1. Just goes to show, there's a little writer in all of us.

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  2. I hope that these kind of surprises never stop showing up.

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    1. Me too, Terje. It certainly has put a positive spin on my day!

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  3. Love every word, Deb. Oh it is the best of surprises. The fact that he came to you, then made you promise not to share, then did it all himself. You must have made him feel so, so safe. Great to hear. I never get tired of hearing it.

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    1. Did you see the comment from Mrs. Schwade? He had her read it too. Sometimes, it's all a matter of confidence.

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  4. What a wonderful surprise - that's what makes teaching worthwhile! You have such a good rapport with your students and you made him feel so good about himself and gave him the confidence to share with his friends. Awesome slice - thanks for sharing.

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  5. What a nice surprise! Sometimes it just takes the right teacher at the right time.

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  6. Wonderful!!! These are the moments that make teaching so special! It also shows that you are a special teacher--your students trust you!!!

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  7. What a terrific story! It reminds me of LOVE THAT DOG!

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  8. What a wonderful surprise. I just love hearing stories like this...it's these kind of moments that make our job so very special. I can clearly tell that you have created a safe space for your writers. Yeah!

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  9. I love this story. Thanks for sharing! You created the environment where he felt trusted! What a gift for him and you.

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  10. The surprises that change lives...

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  11. That's AWESOME! Truly why we teach. I somehow missed your post last week, but I just read it and it was beautiful. You captured the poignancy of his act of writing so perfectly. And now this success -- Go Deb, you are changing his life! :-)

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  12. The fact that you are still surprised by these moments is the very reason they continue to happen in your world. I love that you find such reward in the genuine growth of your students as writers, and even more impressively, as humans. You shape students' lives.

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  13. Oh what a great moment for teacher and student! I love the idea of a pride wall, too. Way to go Deb and H., too!

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  14. Wow! What a gift! Pride wall now and definitely the forever file too. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. That is fantastic. Makes your heart smile :)

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