I had a group of students I looped with for four years, and many of them are now juniors in college. I keep in touch with most of these students over social media, so most events or struggles in their lives are really not a huge surprise to me.
But one of them walked into my office at school the other day. He notified me the day before he was coming, and I figured it was just to touch base like some of them do from time to time.
When this kiddo started talking, his voice cracked just enough that I could tell something big was happening for him in his life. He told me, “I feel ashamed…I couldn’t make school work for me. I’ve made some mistakes, but I feel ready to go back now.”
This confession blew me away. To know this student had tried and not succeeded breaks me as a teacher. But here is what I told him:
“Every adult hits a point in their life where they choose to either move through, or they choose to become who they dream they can be. At some point in everyone’s life, they have to face themselves and start the hard work of living their potential.”
I assured him I would help him. I assured him I had been through this same choice. I assured him that we would figure out his next game plan together. Because here is what I know: each student I teach at some point comes to a crossroad where they must choose who they will become.
Until they can see it clearly in their own hearts, it will not happen for them. This kid, he sees it in his heart. He knows now, after having been in the world just long enough, that education is the key for him.
He came back today. He came back and worked on applications. He talked with a counselor who gave him great advice. He came back and started dreaming about his future again.
I couldn’t be more proud.