One particular student I am very fond of. From the start I was drawn to him in a mentor sort of way. He has had a horrible childhood. He struggles in school. But, he is an outstanding athlete. He shines on the field in every sport. For three years, I taught him. We would have long talks about his childhood, his hopes and dreams, and what it was going to take to stay on the right track.
At one point during the three years, I remember asking him what he was going to be after he graduated high school. His response was..... Mrs. Dunlap... I am going to be a dealer. You can make a lot of money selling drugs. He then immediately began laughing and told me he was just kidding. I was ready to strangle him. Like many boys, his dream is to play football professionally. I have always told him he would make it big one day but that he had to make the right choices in life. I also added that he better remember me when he makes his millions.
After the 8th graders exited the building I headed back to start putting things away for summer. Another teacher had followed me and we ended up talking in my room. The next thing I knew, this same student came running into my room, tears rolling down his cheeks. He ran up to me and gave me the hugest bear hug and held on for dear life. He sobbed and had his head on my shoulder and said he would never forget me and that he would come back and make me proud (okay, I am so starting to cry as I type this). I told him that I worry about him all the time and that he must follow his dreams no matter what, and that I had better not hear that he is a daddy during high school. We both laughed at that. It was so very emotional. It was then that I realized again, why I teach.
This year has been tough. Teaching middle school is very difficult. The students are at such a difficult time in their lives. One day they love you, the next they can't stand you and many times they can't stand themselves. This moment with this student solidified with me why I am teaching middle school and that I am where I belong.