Remember What It Feels Like

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.


8 thoughts on “Remember What It Feels Like

  1. This is so powerful! You’ve definitely made an impression on him. For him to come to you and admit this terrible feeling of being ashamed. My heart breaks for him! I know he’s grateful to have your support and guidance. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW! The fact that he felt comfortable enough to go to your for this confession and help speaks volumes about you! I’m so glad he went to you and that he found someone to help him, encourage him, through his next chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To know our students we must know their hearts. It is, of course a testament to you that your student trusts you enough to lay bare his soul. Our students need to see our vulnerabilities, our admissions of imperfection so they can embrace themselves and their futures. I’ve visited many blogs (double digits, I’m sure) today, and you post has spoken to me in a very tender way. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Molly, you have exemplified the role of a caring teacher who passionately believes in each student in your post. I love the fact that you are non-judgmental, supportive, a great listener, and a cheerleaders for this young adult. Happy First Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Powerful words that I am sure will resonate with this young man as he continues to face obstacles and struggles down the road. I think that oftentimes we find ourselves moving through while trying to reach our dreams, and I think these crossroads present themselves in the little things as well as in the life-changing decisions, especially as teachers. I mean as a high school teacher making the decision to talk about early literacy experiences with Seuss as your inspiration–that is moving through and looking back and looking beyond. Live probably just twisted your quote, but it is good food for thought in how we make big decisions and how we make minute by minute decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. WOW, what an amazing relationship you have with your students, one where they are able to come back to you even at one of their lowest points. How lucky they are to have you to support them and let them know they have someone to help them through the hard parts.

    Liked by 1 person

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