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This post was originally an email that I sent to our faculty here at Salem High School. I thought that perhaps some of you might relate to it and benefit from it.

Faculty

Today (Thursday) was an interesting day for me. It was day that reminded me of just how much our students need us. Here are a few examples of what I experienced:
  • I started off by suspending a young man for ONCE AGAIN refusing to comply with directions. He let me know how much he hated SHS.
  • Next I assigned a young lady to SISD for ONCE AGAIN disrupting a class. She let me know how much she hated SHS.
  • Then I met with a grandmother and her grandson. The grandson today had his 21st disciplinary referral. He let me and his counselor know how much he hated SHS.
  • From there I went back to the office where I found out that several people were waiting on me. A grandmother sitting next to her granddaughter informed me that I was going to "get beat up". She then added that she meant verbally.
  • I met with a different student who was waiting on me. She was accompanied by her mother and aunt. The young lady was suspended for ONCE AGAIN disrupting class and refusing to comply with directions. She, her mother, and her aunt all let me know how much they hated SHS.
  • After they left I met with the student who was with her grandmother. While the granddaughter was not in trouble, she and her grandmother let me know how much they hated SHS.
  • After they left I went across the hall to the guidance office to meet with a young lady and her mother. The day before the young lady had let me know how much she hated SHS. Today she had called her mother to tell her how awful we are. To her credit, this mother realized that we were trying to help her daughter. I'm not sure the daughter agreed.
  • I then went back to the office and met with a young lady who ONCE AGAIN had disrupted class. After assigning her ISD she let me know how much she hated SHS.
  • Lunch duty and then a quick bite to eat came next. Pretty soon it was time for an attendance appeal. The student was so scared and so socially awkward that she could barely speak. While she had never once been in trouble at all, she let us know that she did not like SHS because she had very few friends. I thought about one of my own children who also has great difficulty speaking to others and making friends. Thankfully the rest of the committee was able to take over because thinking about how hard it must be to be that age and not be able to make friends and thinking about my daughter left me unable to speak.
While working out after school I received the superintendent's email about the end of the year, our attitudes, and the fact that our students need us. It caused me to think back over the day. Those students I had encountered need us desperately. They don't know it in many cases. In fact, they are so busy fighting us that they can't even see what should be painfully obvious - we are working our tails off just for them.

I then began to think back to the teacher workweek that started this school year. During that week I challenged everyone to think of this year as YEAR ONE. Think of it as the first time that these students will ever experience what they are experiencing with each of us, and make it special. I also challenged folks to make out a list of students who need us - students that are hard to get to know, students that might fight us, students who might go through a school without ever connecting with anyone. I challenged each of us to pick out a small handful of these students and get to know them personally.

I want to reissue that challenge. There are very few weeks of school left. Are there any students in your classroom who don't know you love them? Are there any students in your room that you have not yet reached? I don't just mean academically, but personally. What can you do to make what SHOULD be painfully obvious ACTUALLY be obvious - that you are doing your job because you love and care about these students.

I am blessed to work with a faculty who truly cares about students. As we move through these final weeks, take a look at your rosters. Who needs you the most? How can you connect with that person be it in or out of the classroom? Find a way.

Thanks for what you all do for our kids and for the dedicated manner in which you selflessly do it.

Scott

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