Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 26 2011

I know you miss me.

Remember This Kid? I hope you didn’t think I was ever going to stop writing about him, even if I’m in a new state far away now.

A couple kids got my phone number at the very end of the year last year. I wouldn’t give it to them while they were my students, but I really wanted them to understand I wasn’t abandoning them when I left my school. I made a teacher Facebook account to keep in touch with most of them, but I slipped my number to the kids who didn’t have internet. I didn’t try to be secretive, so my number has definitely gotten out and every now and then I get kids contacting me. It’s pretty heartwarming, actually.

So This Kid actually found my phone number and called me, which was wildly out of the blue and unexpected. While the reason for his call was math help, he also kept slipping into chats about his life and my life and both of our new schools. I’m going to flatter myself that he misses me … at least a tiny bit.

Of course, the reason he needs math help is that, three weeks into his freshman year of high school, he already got suspended for how he was treating a teacher. Of course, he got a packet of math work without being in the class to learn about it. I’m impressed that he is putting effort into the work while he’s suspended, but I also sense that it’s a little bit of a F*** You to his new math teacher (not the one he got suspended for). Apparently he likes to tell her how much better his old teacher was and how he already learned everything she’s teaching him (YES my kids are prepared for high school!), and so I’m sure he’s now too proud to let himself get behind and need to ask for her help. He prefaces most questions to me with, “I know you taught me this, and I’m sorry I wasn’t paying any attention that day, but….”

The part I’m actually proud of is that his new teacher was wrong on some of her calculations (-4^2 is actually not the same thing as (-4)^2) and he caught her. He knew better (!) and tried to correct her, but she insisted that she was right. When he noticed that his answer key had the same mistake on it, he called me (for the third time now), already confident but needing some backup. When I confirmed his answer to the problem, he was absolutely overjoyed.

Unfortunately, my next question was, “Do you know what you need to do now?” I was getting at a respectful way to discuss it with his teacher, but instead he responded, “Yeah, I do. I’m just going to yell at her about it until she cries.”

Um, no. That actually wasn’t my plan.

4 Responses

  1. Wess

    GUH. Please write about this kid every day.

  2. stephanie

    Ok, I kept re-reading the problem, trying to see why the calculations weren’t the same. I finally noticed the first negative sign is before the line break …. duh!

  3. I basically follow that philosophy in all my interactions with people who disagree with me. It works. I don’t know why you’re telling him no.

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