Sometimes he drove me crazy. Other times, he made me so proud. Jerald is so smart. He just doesn’t know it yet.
When he came into my classroom I felt immediately drawn to Jerald. He liked anyone who gave him attention, and being new to teaching and OKC, I had plenty of that to give. He also did exceptionally well on his diagnostic test. While I loved Jerald, he loved to talk more. Often while in class, he would talk through instruction, and then be frustrated when he did not know how to solve the problems.
I remember last week he became so frustrated because after I had looked at his challenge problem, I had not put a check next to it with my teacher pen. He continued to call my naem and wave his hand in the air until I finally came over to talk to him about it, literally distracting me to the point I could not help any other students within our classroom. While it was very frustrating for me overall, it was great for him to be so proud of something he had done.
Last semester he was so distracting in my class, I left most days feeling frustrated with him and his inability to raise his hand or be silent. He would tell me and Ms. K that he may be moving out of the city. I was so frustrated at that point, I thought Good Riddance. I was excited to see him leave. I was annoyed when I had learned it was all talk and he wouldn’t be going anywhere. I never thought it would really happen.. I never thought he would actually leave.
This semester, Jerald has been getting perfect scores on the majority of his quizzes and Exit Tickets. He has been more focused in class, and more confident. One night he texted me to ask if I would be going to Saturday school the next day. I told him I’d be at school, but not at Saturday school. When I got there, I went to find him. I eventually ended up giving him a ride home, but before I did I asked if he wanted to help set up my classroom. I told him I needed a photo wall and he was excited to do it. He started but didn’t get to finish before it was time to leave so I asked him if he wanted to come in next week and work on it. He said yes.
After leaving school that Saturday, we all went to the library to check out books. I taught him how to use the Dewey Decimal system and we looked up books he might want to read. I showed him the Post Secret books and he sat there reading it for 10 minutes in the aisle all by himself. When I caught him, I took a picture, but never told him. He wanted to find morebooks by the author of “A Child Called It”. Turns out, he ended up taking out two books on surviving child abuse. It was at the moment I was brought back to the personal lives of our students. In the time that I had been trying to focus so hard on being their teacher, I also had forgotten to be their friend and Jerald reminded me of that that weekend. When he came in on Monday, I asked him when he was going to come in to finish the photo wall and showed him the picture I had taken of him. He was so proud he told his other teachers and later asked me if I could print out a picture for both him and his Dad.
I can’t believe I wanted to give up on this student, who had such a transformation this semester, being helpful and smart and wonderful to have in class. He proved me wrong. He taught me so much.
This past week Jerald got in a fight with another student and was suspended for 5 days. Upon this, his Dad kicked him out and made him go live with his Aunt two hours away, without saying Goodbye.
I want to tell him how much he taught me and how I wish I could have taught him more. I will never forget the time I lost my cool and told him to sit down and stop acting like a fool. I saw him look at me with hate in that moment. Later in the day, I pulled him out of class to apologize. That was the first apology I saught a student out to give. That was the first time I acknowledged one-on-one to a student I had been wrong.
He taught me to be kind and patient. Sometimes he drove me crazy. Other times he made me so proud. Jerald is so smart. He just doesn’t know it. I wish he knew it.