Thursday, November 3, 2011

My other life...

I’m sitting here during parent conferences (obviously there’s a lull) and I’ve had a few parents ask about Tera and how she’s doing and I really feel good about my decision to tell my students about her and her extra chromosome.  I even had one parent tell me that her friend’s daughter has DS and goes to the Gigi’s in Hoffman Estates.  It was exactly the effect I was hoping for when I decided to share the information with the students.  I wanted them to be able to share it with their families (if they so chose) and start making connections with people. 
I don’t want to sound high and mighty, but I have always believed that part of my job as an educator is to not only teach math, but to teach about life.  Sometimes that seems so much harder than math, which is hard to believe when most of my students find it their least desirable class.  I’ve often wondered if I could just find a job as an advisor, instead of just a teacher with an advisory, because that’s where I feel I could make the most difference.  I have put a lot of effort into working with my freshmen advisory this year because I know all too well the trap that freshmen fall into when they have a less than successful first year and then spend the next three trying to catch up. 
I wondered if I would have the same relationship with this advisory that I’ve had with my last two because I was incredibly close with them and it always seems like the new one can’t be the same as the last one.  I also wondered how much I’d be able to devote to them with all the things that go on with Tera.  But I think I’ve realized that I want Tera’s teachers to put as much time and effort into her as I do into my students.  I want them take an interest in what she does and set high expectations, but understand when she may fall short for some reason.  I want them to genuinely care for her and about her and her future.  And for these reasons, I’ve really tried to do that with this advisory.  I will admit, no, right now, they’re not the same as my other advisories.  And they may not be. I developed some truly amazing relationships with those kids that have continued through several years and they know that I will always be there for them.  I hope that even if I don’t end up feeling the same way for this group that they at least get out of me what my last two groups did.  And I hope that when the time comes (sooner than I think it will I’m sure) that Tera is in school, that she is able to develop that relationship with her teachers. 
Sorry no picture tonight, I'm writing this from school...But while I do not expect a meaningful post tomorrow night, if I can stay awake long enough, I have a feeling I'll be able to make up for it then (wink, wink)...

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