Many educators have been focused on the “SCIENCE” of education for a long time now. Because of this the “HEART” of education has been put on the back burner and forgotten. This post is a true story that is a reminder about WHY the HEART of education and relationships are so important. I have omitted names so that those involved can remain anonymous, but please do not let that take anything away from the amazing story of this resilient young man.
This story is about a boy in high school who turned out average grades, was a strong athlete, but got into trouble often. Many teachers and administration had written him off thinking he wouldn’t be able to get it together to be successful in life. He could be explosive at times and had gotten into a few violent physical altercations. There was some staff that were even scared of him because they never really knew how he was going to react.
His coach, on the other hand, knew him on a more personal level. He knew that his home life was tough. His mom was very sick, his dad was in and out of the country, and this student was left to help take care of his mother and her illness, as well as take care of his little brother. He was holding down 2 – 3 jobs at a time. One of his jobs was delivering papers which required him to start his day at 3:00 in the morning, and others included retail jobs or fast food jobs. Somehow this student continued to make it to school, make it to his athletics, and maintain decent grades. The pressure he was under was more than just about any adult could take. Of course he was explosive! Please keep in mind that he also learned from his family that explosive behavior is how you get people to listen to you.
One day this student was observed by his coach, which also happened to be his teacher wearing the same clothes a couple of days in a row and looking as though he hadn’t showered. The student appeared to be more tired than normal. When he was asked if he was ok, the student broke down and told him that he had been kicked out of his house by his mother and he was living out of his car. The coach immediately got DHS involved and invited the student to live with him and his family. They lived together for a couple of months until the student was able get things patched up with his mother again and he decided he wanted to move back in with her.
A month after he moved back in with his mother, he had another violent act at school. Administration kicked him out of school and told him he couldn’t return. The student decided he was going to give up and drop out of school. His coach immediately went to his house, picked him up, and drove him to an alternative school to help him get enrolled there. The student was reluctant, but ultimately decided to give it a try. Fast forward several months later and he graduates high school.
With his high school diploma he earned a job as a teller at a bank. Within one year he had a management position at the bank. In less than four years this man is now only one managerial position away from having his own bank to run.
Every child’s path to success is different. But the one thing that EVERY child needs is someone who cares about them, will never give up on them, and will work hard to find a path to success that works for them.
The science of education is important, but it is time for all educators to look deep into their HEARTS and remember WHY they got into education in the first place. If it was to help all children grow up to be successful young adults, then maybe we (the educators) need to be passionate enough, creative enough, resilient enough, and LOVE our children enough to find a path that works for each and every one of them.