A blog about all things pertaining to Trent Lott, Leadership and Blogs.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Success is Saying Goodbye

People come to teaching for a lot of different reasons, some more altruistic than others. I think that this profession in particular readily creates a facade of self-sacrifice that often covers up somewhat less honorable motives. Some are here for the power, to impose their will upon a group of impressionable young'uns. Others may at times enjoy a little nibble from the banquet of self-righteousness spread before them. After all, what better way to stick it to your consulting firm friends than to remind yourself that you ... you are doing something important ... for society ... to save the world ... Christopher Reeve may have passed on but I'm still here teaching.
For this reason I approach the subject of a success story with no small degree of wariness. Whose success? The personal success, the private glory of a teacher who succeeded in changing a kids life or exposing a young mind to the wonders of social studies or the joy of sitting still in class?
As I've found, sometimes the success of a child and the success of a teacher do not always converge.
Dymond was trouble from day one. I knew this would be the case because she reminded me so much of myself at her age. Gifted, bored and inclined to mischief. She didn't need to pay attention, so why should anyone else.
I was always amazed at her ability in math, and I always graded her tests first to make sure I didn't have any errors in my key. But her behavior was another story. Talking to everyone around her, calling out, making noise, all the things that I once did for which teachers always told me "I hope someday you have kids who act this way to you".
At the end of a detention one afternoon I pulled Dymond aside and gave her the whole "in this world being smart is not enough ..." speech. I asked her if she would be interested in switching to an APAC gifted math class. Her eyes lit up and she eagerly agreed.
With some reservations at losing my best student I made the arrangements with our math coach, contact the APAC coordinator and a week later she was gone from my class. My averages on the district tests will suffer a great deal, and I'll probably miss the satisfaction of working with a truly gifted student. But this is her success, not mine. Just so I don't get too lonely she sometimes pops back into class, calls out to her friends and disrupts our lesson for a little while and reminds me what I'm missing.

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