You can’t save them all, but that doesn’t mean you don’t try

You get attached to students. It happens.

You want to see them succeed and not go (back) to jail.

I subbed at Tiger today. It was great. I saw a few students I knew, and a lot of students I didn’t know. Another few months and “my” students will all be gone.

The topic of discussion among the teachers and other faculty was the news that a former student who got out a month ago was arrested earlier this week for possessing a firearm… among other things. I want to read a news report or SOMETHING as some of the information I was given about it are flipping crazy. At least he isn’t dead, but if I recall, the sentence for using a gun on someone is life in prison, but the person he was shooting used one on him first (and hit him), but who knows.

I had high hopes I’d never hear of him getting arrested or see him on the news in a negative light. I told him last year that I had bought an automotive class book for him to do work out of since he wouldn’t do the normal English work. He thought it was a good idea and was receptive to it (he had previously told me he was interested in working in the automotive repair industry). Then, as an aside, he asked, “How much did you spend on it?” I didn’t lie to him, I said, “It was $14.” I’ll never forget the look on his face as he said, “You spent $14 for me?” He couldn’t believe that someone would do that for him.

I loved it when he actually worked on the stuff I assigned out of that book. He never got a problem wrong, even came to me for assistance a few times showing me the question in the book, then showing me where he found the answer in the book wanting to help me reconcile his idea of what the right answer should be among the two he was thinking of. It was great.

Even when I left that assignment, the new teacher assured me she would continue using that book for that student, and she did. I talk to her sometimes about my students. But now, there’s only a few left. Oh, there’s a full class of 24 students, there’s always 24, but of those, only a few are ones that know of my time there.

It makes me sad, but what can you do? Promise yourself you’ll work that much harder on the next one? And the one after?

I’m not sure.

This post is cross posted to


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