I live 15 miles from my school. In many parts of the country, this is right next door. Here in Maine it’s quite a way. I don’t have a double yellow line door to door but I do have one stoplight and three stop signs along the way.
While I was raising a family and attending to their needs, these proved to be obstacles. After all, it was imperitive to me that the right kids got the best part of me every day. I still think that was the right call.
Now it’s different. My children are grown and on their own, and I have the time to go to the concerts and games that my students are in as opposed to the rounds of sports event my own children participated in. While I was balancing both worlds, I thought I knew my students- after all , I saw them every day and knew them inside and out.
Except I didn’t. Now that my kids no longer require me to be there daily for them, I’ve taken some time to watch my students in their afterschool endeavors, and one thing shines clear. I only know part of them. The student I thought really cared alot about online gaming is an ardent vocalist in the choir. An advisee who seemed to be a reluctant learner yearns to make varsity in basketball. A popular athlete continues his relationship with a life skills student after they both graduate. Surprises to me who thought I had a pretty good grip on it all.
I went to a chorus/band concert last night and that’s when I had this revelation. I saw students taking risks, taking the safe road, and wandering in between. What I saw mostly was the side they don’t show us in the classroom. I’m making it my goal to hit many different events this year so I can see the REST of what my students have to offer. There’s a depth to some of them that I can’t even fathom- but making the effort to figure it out can only benefit all of us.