It’s Thursday night and we’re in the middle of a big weather change at the moment. Right now, the wind is kicking up and the skies are dark…a cold front is moving in. Yes, it’s supposed to get quite chilly tonight, with temperatures, gulp, plunging down into the 40’s. Yikes, way too early for temps that low, but cooler is definitely welcome after the hot, sticky days we’ve been having around here…
My Three Heroes
A Post Presentation High
All last night and today I’ve been on one of the highest of highs ever! I told you the other day that I had a presentation to do for the faculty at my school yesterday and I was one hot mess all day (What else is new?). After having done two well-received presentations last year, I felt pressure that I had to top them and I had trouble deciding on what to do or how to do it. Luckily for me, my pal Rita teaches a couple of classes in my classroom and it was she who pushed me to do what I ended up doing. It ended up better than I could have ever imagined.
The whole idea behind the presentation was to advocate for my students. As one who teaches English as a Second Language, part of my job is to make sure that my students get as much empathy as they can get from their teachers. They’ve got it hard and I can’t imagine being in their shoes, having to go from class to class, walking through the rough and tumble halls of high school not being able to understand or speak English. Teachers, though, have it hard enough themselves, with big caseloads of students and the pressures of “teaching to the test,” so my students often get the short end of the stick, so to speak, and end up falling between the cracks.
At the advice of Rita, I decided that the best way for teachers to understand my students a little better would be to let them hear my students talk about what it’s like to be them. I enlisted three of them to accompany me to the meeting. Two are current students of mine: Yunus, a 9th grade intermediate level English speaker and Eli, an 11th grade beginner. The third is a former student of mine, Kevin, who I first met when he was just six years old.
I asked them some practice questions beforehand and I have to say I was impressed that they were brave enough to help me out, but they knew it was also going to help them and their fellow students as well, so they went along with it. I was introduced at the start of the meeting and I in turn introduced Yunus, Eli and Kevin, letting the audience know why they were there.
I started by asking them about their first day at school here in the US and from there it went. The three of them were eloquent, honest and articulate and they had everyone’s undivided attention for about twenty minutes. Of course I had to help them out here and there when they became a little nervous or stuck for words, but all in all they did an awesome job. A few of the teachers had their own questions for the kids and I sat there like a beaming parent watching my students make the best cases as to why they need special attention. I couldn’t have been more proud!
As we wrapped up our discussion, a couple of teachers chimed in with some unexpected, but welcome accolades for me and my students. One of the special education teachers, a colleague and a friend named Dan, openly stated his appreciation for me and what I do and the room burst out into applause. I had to stop him because I was starting to get all choked up, but another teacher raised her hand to commend the kids directly for our yearly magazine and how she loved reading it. She wanted them to know how it showed their progress through the years and that they should be very proud of it.
After one more complement by the principal followed by even more applause, the four of us felt like rock stars, if only for a moment. Though the whole thing was a little embarrassing and I am a little bit of a sap, it was nice to get such recognition from my colleagues, especially with the principal and superintendent in the audience. It just goes to show that way back in 2000, when I quit my 15-year career in banking, I definitely made the right choice. I love what I do and I am so proud of my kids!
Needless to say the euphoria that came afterwards carried into today, and I just wish I could bottle up that feeling and keep it for whenever I need it, but life happens, ya know? Yeah, problems persist and moods swing, but I’m definitely gonna try and hold on to this one for awhile.
Some pictures of me and my kids: