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I’ve got a student in class who is really getting on my nerves.  Every day I have to remind him to get out his notebook.  Where’s your pencil?  Wake up.  Open your textbook and do some work.  You get the idea.

At least every other day we make a trip out to the hall. 

You’re smart enough to do this.  Make an effort.  You don’t want to fail. 
Why are you always on my ass?  When am I gonna use this in real life?
C’mon man, you’re not dumb.  You can do this.
Man, this is whack.

I’ve called home.  His parents aren’t a lot of help.  He plays football.  I’ve talked to the coach. 

He’s failing.  He is smart enough to do this.  He drives me nuts.  How can I reach this kid?

On football game days the players give their jerseys to a staff member; teacher, custodian, lunch worker, principal.  It’s an honor to get a kid’s jersey. 

Today this kid comes up to me and hands me his jersey.

“Mr. W, all my other teachers let me sleep in class.  Nobody else care’s if I pass or not.  Will you wear my jersey today?”

I’ll wear that jersey, damn straight.  And I’m smooth enough to wipe my eyes as I pulled it over my head.


  1. That is awesome. He knows that you care and now you know he knows. Wow… that really teared me up too.

  2. hehehe. “In real life” is actually pretty common. Checkbooks, bills, loans, budgets, all real life. Designing the layout of a room? Surprise, you need geometry for that. There are a zillion ways ‘real life’ uses math. Driving uses a ton of physics, did you know? haha. Good on ya for sticking it out with this kid.

  3. That needs a tissue warning. That was a REALLY neat story. SO telling

  4. That is the most touching and inspiring story I have heard in a long time. Thanks for sharing.

  5. That is so cool. And so well-written, too. I’m glad you wrote about it. (I’m going to link to this post next week on Friday Fragments.)

  6. YAY!! Score one for the kick-ass teacher!!!

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