Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 05 2011

Packer Patience

My Packer makes me feel good at one part of my job.

I’ve never seen anyone act the way this kid does. His outbursts seem involuntary—like he really needs the stimulation of making a noise or cracking a joke or swearing at someone. My Brat was manipulative and everything she did was on purpose. Webbie and a bunch of other kids have just been Too Cool For School, trying to rise above the fact that they’re sitting in a classroom under someone’s authority. My Packer, however, seems a bit like he’s at the mercy of his body. And also is Too Cool. Or… that he has to act Too Cool so no one realizes he actually can’t help it.

I have to admit, though—I really enjoy the challenge of working with him. I like praising him for small successes and acting like a broken record. I like noticing that using anything but a conversational tone shortens his fuse dramatically. I like marking down on my clipboard the 9 times I asked him to sit down and the 21 times I told him his language was inappropriate. I love that somehow he still filters through everything going on and picks up parts of the lesson.

I kind of want my job to be following him to every one of his classes, praising him for small successes, acting like a broken record, and helping him filter.

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    “The minute you think of giving up, think of the reason you held on so long.” - John Maxwell


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