Two Exchanges

Two exchanges from school to show how radically different a day can be.

First, I was passing out report cards and a young lady declared, jokingly, “I’m going to cry!” She’s a sweet student who usually does her best, but occasionally she gets a little lazy. And that’s what happened this quarter: she didn’t turn in a major assignment, so her grade suffered for it. She didn’t fail, but it was a high D. So I played along with the joke. “You probably will when you see the grade for this class.” And a few moments after I gave her her report card, she was indeed crying. I felt awful, apologized profusely, and then pointed out the obvious: “It hurts, but look at the good side of this: you realize what you did, you’re upset about it, and you’ll be able to change. Not all students react that way such grades.”

The second exchange came at the end of another class when a young man who has struggled through the year with behavior and grades approached me to tell me about a fundraiser his community basketball team is having. He didn’t quite know how to invite me, so he just ended up telling me about it. But the fact that he shared with me something from his personal life — this is a kid I’ve butted heads with a time or two, and other teachers have absolutely struggled with. He can be a challenge but not yesterday. And for me, not recently.

Two exchanges, both haunting in their own way.

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