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Monday, June 15, 2015

Dude, I Just Want to Chill

I know I've been a little shouty about my job lately. In fact one of my coworkers who perhaps knows me best out of everyone here has avoided calling me that last couple of days because I can't control my internal volume when I talk to her about work. It could also be because I admitted to her that I get so angry that I spit all over myself while talking...

Yesterday I went to check in with a student who's technically no longer on my caseload but I have a misplaced sense of responsibility to my students who I believe deserve some level of continuity and support. I talked to him for a minute about his progress reports, his impending academic graduation (he'll still be locked up for a few more months after graduation), and his plans for after his release. Not too long ago he told me that he had decided he wanted to try going to a community college, just to see if he could do it. Of course I told him I would do everything in my power to make that happen for him because I (naively, apparently) believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to explore their futures and discover their bliss, as the kids say.

When I went to check in with his current teachers, they asked me why I would encourage this particular student to go to college because he just doesn't "have it". They told me it was a waste of time to think that this student would ever be released and make something of himself.


Aren't we paid (handsomely I might add) to do just that? Ok, maybe the majority of these kids will walk out our door just to return in as little as a day, but does that mean we stop encouraging them altogether? I can't understand the attitude that, because these kids are locked up, they shouldn't be told what's out there. I love talking to these kids about my college experience; it truly was the best years of my life. And even though I preface most of those conversations with the reminder that I'm the world's biggest nerd, my passion for education is occasionally catchy. The kids see how much I love to learn and how much I love to share what I've learned which is why some of them do finally say, "Hey, I'd like to try it."

Why on earth would I ever stop encouraging that?

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