Thursday, May 24, 2012

Two More Student Stories.....

Two more student stories, from way, way back at the beginning of my career. It seems the longer ago they happened, the more likely I am to remember them.

Katydid is encouraging me to write these stories down and turn them into a book. I just don't know how I'm going to tie all these elements into a plot. But for now I'll get the thoughts down and worry about how they fit together later.

The first three years of my career, I taught middle school. It wasn't by choice, but when the principal called me on Saturday before school started on Monday (yeah, AFTER pre-planning had occurred...I walked in on the first day WITH THE STUDENTS), I jumped at the chance to teach ANYWHERE they would give me a chance. And oh yeah...a paycheck.

We were doing a spelling/capitalization lesson one day, and we were talking about the four seasons. Not the singing group, because clearly then it would have been capitalized. I was telling the students that the seasons of the year are NOT typically capitalized, unless they happen to be someone's name, like a girl named Summer. 

This voice SNORTED from the back of the room. "Summer?" (Only it came out more like "Summah?" because we live in the South and I was teaching in ... never mind.) "Who gon' name a kid Summah?"

I paused. Long pause. "Gee, Nefrateri. I don't know who would do such a thing."


The other student story came from a young lady whose face I can still see clearly in my mind, but her name escapes me. By this time I had moved to the high school, where I felt like I belonged and my sarcasm was often understood and sometimes even appreciated. The young lady in question was in one of my advanced classes, a quiet girl who was a teacher-pleaser but not in an obnoxious, annoying way.

She wrote me a letter at the end of the year, and I swear I kept it, but I can't find it after moving a dozen times or so, once stealthily in the middle of the night, but that's a story for another night. It was a pretty long letter, full of typical end-of-the-year stuff and thanking me for being her teacher, but one line at the end of the letter has stuck with me for the rest of my life. And I think it always will.

She said, "You have taught me that my parents were wrong. All white people aren't bad."

I wonder where she is today. I hope the sentiment has stayed with her.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

There doesn't have to be a plot. Just fill a book with stories like these and call them "essays".

I would buy it.