Monday, February 21, 2011

The Story of Michael

The other day I was catching up with a friend and telling her about school.  She asked me, "Was changing careers a good thing for you?  Are you glad you did it?"  The answer is absolutely yes.  Even on my worst day, this job is still the best job I have ever had.  Its a lot of fun and on occasion I really get the rush of feeling like I have helped someone.   The story of Michael is a good example.

From Day One, Michael was a pain in the butt.  He came late, came unprepared (Remember the kid who came to the exam without a pencil? That was darling Michael.), slept in class, asked to go to the bathroom and would be gone for 30 minutes, disrupted class and never turned in any work.  I was about to write him off.  I finally called Michael's mother and told her he was in danger of failing.  She told me that Michael was doing poorly in all of his classes and she was at her wit's end. Shortly after that, I held a Writer's Workshop after school so students could rewrite their essays for a higher grade.  I worked with Michael and he ultimately earned an A for his work.  Michael had extra time, so he decided to write his book report that was due the previous week.  Between these two grades, Michael passed for the nine weeks and I made a huge deal over how proud of him I was, how smart he was, what a good writer he was, etc.

Michael became a different person.  Michael now shows up on time, ready to go.  He participates in class and turns in his work on time.  He is a model student.  In fact, he is even being ribbed a bit for trying to be the "teacher's pet".  I am beyond delighted.  The best part is that I received a note from Guidance last week saying that Michael's mother wanted to speak with me.  When I called, I told her that Michael had made an amazing turnaround and now has a B+ in my class!  She said "Wow, you know, he told me that and I didn't believe him based on his grades in the previous two nine weeks."  That's a change--me telling the parent how great the kid is and the parent not believing me!


  1. Sometimes just a few kinds words are all a kid needs. You don't know if they get that anywhere else. This is awesome!

  2. I had an experience like that when I was working at a summer rec program. This little boy was a HUGE pain in the butt every day with the most obnoxious behavior EVER. The counselors were on the phone with his mother every week. One day he had a wonderful day (for some unknown reason!) and I marched him into the office and we called his mom to tell her about it. It was a big phone love-fest and this kid was fabulous for the rest of the summer.

    I am so happy for you! I bet this experience will get you through lots of other tough days. Congrats on a job well done!