Redemption

This summer, during conversations about classes and kids and management, I told a number of people about one of my biggest regrets: that I’d never been able to reach one particular student. It was four years ago, and he was in my Russian classes for a second year. He was incredibly smart and talented, but had drawn awful cards in life. And he seemed to need a place where he could let out his anger. That place was my classroom.

I didn’t handle his behavior well. I couldn’t find a way to connect. Even though I’d had tough kids before, and even though we didn’t always solve everything, I could always find a connection. With this sweet-faced boy, I couldn’t. I got frustrated with him. I have been kicking myself ever since. And that was unexpectedly my last year at that school. I’ve wanted to go back and find him to tell him how much I thought of him, but couldn’t remember his English name, and the counseling secretary who would have remembered him and would have helped me had also changed schools.

So instead, I’ve told people about my regret, and I’ve tried to be a better teacher to other kids who have rough lives through no fault of their own.

Then today, in the grocery store, a tall young man stopped me, and there he was. I had to ask him his name. That was it. I told him I’d been thinking about him a lot since the end of that year. He told me that he’d been thinking about me lately too and wondering what happened to me. I told him that I wanted to apologize, and he said that it had all been his fault.

It wasn’t his fault. I was the adult in the room. And maybe not being able to connect wasn’t completely on me, but I still feel so much better to have met him and talked with him. He looks as though he is finding his way. I will be continuing to think of him and hoping for the very best in his life.

3 responses to “Redemption

  1. Thank you! I needed this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this story! I have a kid that I’d also love to go back to but who knows what happened to him. I also had another student who did whatever she could to derail my lessons and since then i realize that, like you said, I was the adult, the deciding factor, and I should have and could have tried to do something different. I saw her at the grocery store a few months back and she hugged me and started crying and also said she was sorry, she had been going through a lot, and that she really did think I was a great teacher. It is such an important reminder that kids are just doing their best to deal w/ the cards they have been dealt. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is so so relieving to know that people understand we are doing our best, and helpful to remember that the kids are only doing their best too. Hugs!

    Like

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