About Me

My photo
I am a retired English teacher and department head, the mother of three, grand mother of three, and have been married to the same man for 42 years. I subscribe to Dr. PM Forni's concept of Civility. I was born in South Philadelphia and grew up in the 'burbs. I love soft pretzels and cheesesteaks, the Phillies, the Eagles, and San Diego. I love being Mom, Aunt Kathy, Nona Kathy, and Teacher. I spend a lot of time in my gardens in the spring and summer, and in the winter I plan what I'm going to plant. I also am an avid reader and photographer.

Translator!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fruits of Labor

The first time I ever saw Kevin was when he was roughing up a 9th grader trying to extract money the younger had placed on a bet.  It didn't help the presumption I'd made about Kevin, a junior, much earlier in the school year.  There are some kids I would just take an instant disliking to, God forgive me.  This didn't happen very often, but it did occur and I'd have to fight to swallow these prejudices all school year, sometimes successfully, and others not so much.  I'd have additional dealings with Kevin in the two years until he graduated, none of them very positive.

Twenty years later, Kevin walked into the school where I was still teaching.  This time he voluntarily sought me out. " Ms. A, Do you remember the first time we met?"  he asked.  "I sure do!" I said smiling at the two little girls standing behind him.  He introduced me to his daughters.  He was so proud and so sweet with them.  "I was an idiot," he said.  "No, you were a teenager.  Mistakes were in your job description."  And tolerance was in mine, I thought to myself.

17 comments:

Kay said...

Good for you, Kathy! It's always nice to know you did the right thing. I hope every teacher treats her students with tolerance and kindness as you did.

Linda said...

Excellent.

vanillabeanbaker said...

I loved reading this post. Isn't it wonderful when the students make a point to search you out long after they have graduated? Obviously, Kevin was not only proud of his daughters but of himself for growing up and maturing and I think he wanted you to know that he had. It may not have showed back in his school days but your opinion of him truly mattered.

Cobalt Violet said...

Beautifully told and great message! :)

Happyone : ) said...

I like this post. : ) We should have more teachers like you!

Snappy Di said...

I would have been harsh to judge him too as a teenager acting that way. So nice to hear he turned out to be a great guy!

DI

Linda Reeder said...

That return visit is the kind of reward that teachers cherish. Great story.

forsythia said...

I'm sure many more of your former students would drop in if they could, but they've moved away. You can be sure they think of you often.

Deb from WhatsInMyAttic said...

This is really what it's all about...rising above how we feel and doing the job and rising above our shortcomings and growing. You did the job and he did the growing. Great post, Kathy...inspiring.

Retired English Teacher said...

This is a great story. You made an impression on him that had to have been positive. He grew up and realized that he needed to thank you. I'm glad he followed through and did so.

Purple Flowers said...

You knew just the words to say to him. I've always remembered my Teachers that were like you.

Kimberly said...

The fact that you are the teacher many of us seek out says much about who you are.

Bilbo said...

The next time we get together, I'll have to tell you about my high school Humanities teacher (do we even still have those), who was the Gold Standard for wonderful teachers and fine human beings. You are clearly working your way up to that rarified level. Great story!

George said...

This says a lot about Kevin -- and you!

Maggie said...

You do better with teens than I do. Bravo to you.

Gilly said...

You obviously made a huge impression on Kevin! And you were equally obviously a great teacher! Probably more than jsust English.

A really lovely story.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Sometimes we just never know what will happen to the young people we encounter along the way--as teachers/leaders. One of the 'meanest' kids I knew (and tried to help) is now a successful businessman with a family of his own. SO--we never know what kind of influence we may have on a child/teen....

Love this post, Kathy.
Hugs,
Betsy