Our eighth graders have been meeting with counselors from The High School down the road that they will be attending (we hope) next year, and from what some of my former cherubs tell me, it's been interesting. Fortunately I have a few from last year who can actually think about a future beyond lunch and are seriously considering what track they're going to take, what career they may want, and how they can afford college or trade school.
So I'm going over our new unit on force and motion, and giving the kids an introduction, when this nice young man comes to the door and waves at me.
It's one of my kids from my second year, Soccer Boy! Soccer Boy entered my classroom in as an ELL student. He was originally from Mexico, but his English (and his writing skills) were amazing. He was a fantastic science student, a great, sweet kid, and one of the nicest young men I've ever had the pleasure of teaching. He's also made a point of keeping in touch with me each and every year to know what he's doing. I appreciate that.
"Oh my gosh!" I yell as I give him a big hug. "What are you doing here today?"
"I'm here talking to the eighth graders about the AVID program," he says. He's as neat as a pin with dress pants, sweater vest, and a tie.
Meanwhile, my fourth period, a class of low achievers if there ever was one, is staring at him, mouths agape. Seniors in high school, to many of them, are like creatures from another planet.
I get my kids working on their unit and spend a few minutes catching up with Soccer Boy. He's been accepted to a small university in a nearby state, with a scholarship or two, and plans to major in Business Management, and then take his love of science and perhaps get into the medical field somehow, perhaps in pharmaceuticals, or something. He's still playing soccer, and will hopefully play in college. And he's still as nice and polite as he was when he was a twelve year old (and probably should have been a little stinker then but his parents did a great job with him).
He had to leave to go talk to some my eighth graders, but said he'd swing by before he left. He did, and fortunately chose another one of my lower classes to pop in.
"Hey, can I talk to them a minute?" he asks.
"Sure, why not?" I answer. He could read the phone book and they'd listen.
"Hey kids, do yourselves a favor. Listen to your teachers, take notes, study, and work hard. You're going to need it in high school and life. Trust me."
Their heads nod. They blink. Not a peep. Good gracious! They may actually have listened!
Another big hug, and off he went. The good thing is, I know he'll be successful. He'll be fine. And it's nice knowing I may have had a tiny bit of a part in that.