I have 24 goober peas. I used to have 25, but one was kicked out of summer school. He was probably the brightest student in the class, but he was defiant and bored and his disrespectful attitude toward authority eventually got him removed.
I don’t know a lot about my students. TFA believes in creating relationships with your students, but most days I get so wrapped up in trying to fill their minds with math that I forget to ask how their day is going. I just assume that everything is going well in their 9th/10th grade lives, and that the biggest drama they’re facing is focused on snapchat stories or their yakarma score. As per usual, I am wrong.
I’ve learned a couple of things about my kids. I have a student who is five months pregnant. I have a student who I couldn’t get to stay on task no matter how much I pestered him. He was exhausted because the night before he had gotten into an argument with his mom and she kicked him out. He spent the night moving his belongings from his mom’s house to his brother’s house. I have a student who stays after everyday to get extra help because she usually doesn’t understand the material the first time around. In addition to being a high school student, she is also a mother.
When I was in high school, my outside life drama consisted of arguing with my mom about whether or not I was going to take AP Physics or AP Biology or both. I was torn up because I couldn’t be in the school’s production of Macbeth and the community theater’s production of the Little Mermaid at the same time. I have been told time and time again that my students will have harder lives than I ever could have imagined. I never believed that was true until I met them.