It has been a tough year so far. I have been very discouraged with what is going on nationally as well as with my own campus and the administration of my particular area. I have been discouraged with how immature and disconnected this year's group of upperclassmen seem to be. I have been upset with how my hands have been tied this year. I am upset that what I know to be good teaching (track record proves it) is being discounted and criticized into oblivion. It has been hard to get up in the mornings to face yet another day full of constant negativity, implied threats and ever increasing bogus paperwork. This is the most discouraged I have felt professionally in many years.
Yet on Friday night, while my school and an opposing football team were notoriously making national headlines, something happened. I was home preparing for the imminent grading period, writing test questions and trying to figure out the statistical strategy to use in the rigged evaluation game we in Indiana call "RISE". I got a text from an unknown number. It was a former student who graduated two years ago. She had left her apartment without her wallet (as teens sometimes do). Her phone was dying. It was dark. It was getting late. She had run out of gas in a less than desirable neighborhood. She had called everyone she could think of to come to her aid. Her mother said she would be there shortly- that was two hours earlier. This student texted me. I went. I was greeted with a rushed dissertation of all the terrible things that had been happening recently. Then she told me how she had called everyone she could think of before calling me. She said, "I knew you would come. You always do." I hugged her, put gas in her car, sat and talked with her for two hours about her future and did a lot of listening and affirming- just as I had done the night before when a classmate of her's had reached out to me on Facebook with an emotional crisis.
It was a nice reminder of why I do drag myself out of bed and face the institutional negativity each day.