A View from Behind the Teacher’s Desk

Courtesy of Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

School has begun. It’s back to work for this high school English teacher. This is how the school year starts for me.

I look out at my students. I study them. Who am I working with? What makes them tic? What challenges do they have?

I see a young man in one of my senior English classes. He’s quiet, eager to do right. Yet, he’s scared and nearly shaking. When he talks, it’s clear that there are some issues he’s dealing with. He appears alone and fragile. I’ll have to be careful with him, sensitive.

The girl in my senior class is familiar. I taught her in the 10th grade. Her moods swayed like a bridge in desperate need of repair. The boys seemed scared of her. I liked her on her good days. She participated and was willing to learn. Her writing was inconsistent. Now, she’s a mom. She’s not the first senior I had with a child. Still, I worry for her and the child. How will she have time for school and a life?

There’s a rambunctious boy in my sophomore class. Seriously. His energy level is ridiculous. He clearly can’t handle himself. I’ve been told he’s a struggling student. I wouldn’t know. He has done no work yet. He is too busy pruning for laughs. I’ve already spoken to his mother. I hope it helps.

There’s a girl in my sophomore class. She’s short. And loud with seemingly no filter button.  Her work/participation has been weak so far. She seems more interested in strolling the hallways despite claims of injured feet. Then yesterday, she shared her journal entry. Her sister died last year of cancer. She could not make it to the funeral.  Maybe, there’s a way to get to her.

Every student has a story. At some point, I’ll learn all their stories. I’m going to be listening, reading their journals, and studying their behavior. Who are they? Who am I working with? How can I get the students to work to their potential?

This is what I see from behind the desk. It’s time to step out.