A teacher walked into my office the other day and handed me a slip of paper with a request from a student to talk to me by the end of the day.
“Any idea as to what they might want?” I inquired, typing in their name bringing up their current grades and attendance.
‘Nope.’ said the teacher as they turned and left.
Looking at the time, I saw that the student was still in the building for another hour and after locating the class they were in, I got up and took a walk down to their class.
Looking in, I could see that the student was engaged in their work and said to the teacher, when the student is done, give them a pass down to my office.
Several minutes later, there was a knock at my door and the student asked if he could see me now.
“Sure, I said, come on in. What’s up?’ I asked.
“Nothing much, ” said the student, shifting his weight back and forth standing in front of my desk, “I just wanted to check in, is all.”
“Ok,” I said. “Well, I looked at your grades and you are doing much better this semester. What has made the difference?” I inquired.
“Me.” the student said without hesitation.
“Tell me more.” I said.
“Well,” the student started, moving to sit at a chair at the round table. ‘I finally decided to make a change. I was tired of not doing the right thing. I was tired of disappointing my mom, my little brother, and not listening to you and the teachers, who were always in my corner. Believing that I could be successful. That I could graduate.”
I leaned back in my chair, taking the weight of his words in.
It is in these moments, that serving in education, I find the validation for saying and praying that the 10th 100th, or even the 1000th time that I or others repeat a message, a belief about a student comes to fruition. That they, finally see, that change doesn’t happen on the outside first, without happening on the inside first. The discovery that it was them all along that was holding them up from success.
“It was me all along. I had to stop thinking that I could just do the same things I have always been doing and expecting a different result. ” the young man continued. “Like not coming to school and thinking that I would earn credits. Or that when I got into a fight, that you weren’t going to do what you said you were going to do, and I could talk my way out of it.”
“That is very mature of you, ” I said, as I got up from around my desk and approached the young man extending my hand. “I hope you continue with that belief,” I continued, ” because I would like to offer you that transition assessment in the community and get you in on a full day in order to graduate on time.” shaking his hand and looking him square in the eyes.
“I know, ” said the young man. “I know I am ready.”
It is never to late to ‘be ready”. To realize, that it has been YOU all along that holds the key to making the difference in your life that you had envisioned.