6:30 a.m. My alarm gently wakes me up out of my 7 hour slumber and quite frankly, I dread the thought of pulling myself out of my warm bed and into the Delaware cold. It's enough to make me want to call out. I get dressed and along the way, I think of yesterday's laughs with my students and with that thought, I dart out the door. Headphones in, hands-in pockets – I make the brisk walk to 12th and French, passing familiar Wilmington faces along the way. Clocked in for 7:30 am, I enter Great Oaks Charter School and prepare myself for what the day may bring.
I've been asked "why don't you post your about your job?" , "Do you like working with students?", and the list goes on. How exactly can I describe the highs and lows of my job without leaning too much to one side? It seemed like a mountainous task to get readers into my head and my world without exposing too much, hence silence... until now. There are far too many positive things to share about my new experience to keep silent. Here goes nothing.
Where exactly do I start? How about with the student I had last week sipping on Fiji water in class. I noticed "Jesus' Tears" was written with sharpie all over the bottle. When asked for the meaning of that, I was told "well, this water is too expensive so it might as well be the tears of Jesus." LOL to say the least. From jokes, to roasts on me, I find myself laughing even at times when I don't want to. As someone who is pretty observant, I even laugh internally about the interactions I see and how they've changed me. The day I caught myself saying, "the bell doesn't dismiss you! I Do!" I knew it was a wrap lol. It seems as though I forgot how awkward middle school was. It's like you're grown (in your head) but the reality is you're just a few years post-scheduled Kindergarten naps. Whatever the case may be, the students in this school some of the funniest, most clever 6th and 7th grade students I've ever met.
Likewise, these students are also resilient beyond belief. Most of you know that as a 6th grader, I lost my father to pancreatic cancer and I'm still healing from years of pushing those emotions and feelings aside. I see as some of these students have lost their parents, family members, and friends to illnesses, jails, and gun violence of the streets, yet they come to school, seemingly pushing through it all. They continue to teach me a lesson I learned at 11 years old : Things happen but life WILL go on, even when it seems like it won't. They teach me the TRUE meaning of displaying love at my wits end. Regardless of what any child has faced in their life, they are deserving of patient, loving educators that will help tap into the amazing potential.
Getting to know the students I interact has been the most rewarding part of my job, hands down. I thought I was so "woke" and knew so much about the education system vs. the correctional system but my experiences at this school kick things up a notch. On a daily basis, I shout "Where are you supposed to be?! Go to class!" not just because it's my job but because I see the importance of them being great. I thank God everyday for the ability to work with 50+ other scholar tutors in showing these students that they can be more than where they came from; more than what they've gone through; and more than the roles society repeatedly casts them as.