What did I learn today?
Every day that I get to work with students, I learn how incredibly resilient our students can be.
Today, I was reminded of this as I was with my family at Canada’s Wonderland. As my car was heading out on the Leviathan, I thought I had heard my name called. I asked the person I was with if he had heard my name being called and he said that was just my nerves talking.
After my 3 minute ride we pulled back into the station and once again the announcer was talking and at the end of his announcement he said, “ and Mr. Pearson, I hope you enjoyed your ride!” This time I know it wasn’t my nerves talking, I looked into the booth and there was a former student, smiling behind the glass at me. We had a brief moment to catch up. He is now training to be in the military working on jet engines. A goal he had stated to me 4 years previous. A remarkable accomplishment for him, as I look back and consider what this student did to get to where he is today.
My memory might be fading at this point, but here is the long and short what he had to overcome: multiple school changes, over an hour and a half bus ride to come to school, multiple suspensions, multiple issues with teachers, multiple issues with me and multiple issues within himself.
In my three years with this student, we took the time to get to know each other when times were good and we built that relationship where he still felt safe when times were not so good; when he need to be cooled down, or even sent home. He knew he could come back and that he would be held accountable for what had happened. We took the time to work through his mistakes together, it is what he needed, and really what all students need. Together we created a relationship where he felt comfortable to learn from his missteps, to reflect on what had happened. He learned to never give up, he learned that failing was okay. Most importantly, he learned that he had someone that he could lean on and trust. I also have to say that he taught me so much as we went through his time in high school.
This student came to believe in himself, that he could grow both academically and personally and this is what helped him overcome the obstacles life presented him. This strength or mindset is what will see him through to his goals. He believed that he was not fixed in the die that life had cast for him.
Today, I was reminded that the amazing students we work with can:
It’s funny that I remembered all of this after a roller-coaster ride of up’s and down’s, much like life can present us with.