Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 23 2011

Dear Brat:

I am so impressed with you today. This morning started out rocky in tutoring, but even though you came late, yelled at me, and told me I was explaining everything wrong and that’s why you were NEVER  going to understand it, I could tell you were getting it. You tried so hard to leave, but you weren’t trying to leave at all. You were just trying to see how much I wanted you there.

Brat, you did more and better work than everyone in second period today. Even my two engineering boys who roll their eyes when I say we’re doing more algebra review. You were the only one who finished the entire page of homework AND the worksheet on multiplying binomials. You picked it up so fast!

Thank you for being calm and clear when you told me how you wanted the math explained to you. You’re learning how to express what you need in order to understand better, and I taught you that. I’m so impressed that you wanted to fix your mistakes on your own! I don’t know who else could have stopped my explanation so confidently. (Heh. “Confident” is one way to put it…)

You inspired me today. When I see you working at getting better at what you do, it makes me want to get better at what I do.

The young woman I saw multiplying binomials perfectly today, negative signs and all, wanted to learn and wanted to practice what she’d learned, and it was paying off. I saw a young woman who for some reason doesn’t want to show how smart she is or what a hard worker she can be, but who definitely has what it takes to be at the top of the class. I saw a young woman who was headed for BIG things—bigger than just going to college and getting a job and working and leaving it at that. You have an incredible, independent mind, and you’re going to grow up, graduate from college, and use that mind to make really important things happen.

After class, as I was talking to my teary Hungry student, you shocked me with your loud, rude bluntness (as usual). But after a second, you gave her a hug just because you genuinely wanted her to feel better. The adult you’re on your way to becoming is someone who, whatever path she takes, is going to use her gifts to change this world for the better.

Your mom said you “didn’t even fight” with her on the way home from practice. She was shocked. I wonder if that was because of the note I had your teacher give you in eighth period, or because you’re just growing. I sort of hope it’s the latter.

2 Responses

  1. Ms. D

    Wow – this is awesome. For sure just teared up. You reached her! You are at least a small reason as to why she acted the way she did today. Good job. This is one of the reasons you joined TFA – you go girl. Close that gap, make your students better people, teach them respect. You’re amazing.

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February 2011
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