At a School Near You

No matter where you live, you are close to “those schools”. The ones who don’t perform as well as the state would like. The ones that some look down on because they must have crappy teachers who have checked out and parents who don’t care. The ones that contain “those kids” that probably don’t speak properly and probably are in gangs and will never amount to anything.

At those schools, there is a teacher. He teaches because it is his passion. He is at “that school” because he loves it. You feel sorry for him because he hasn’t moved up to the affluent schools yet. What you don’t know is that he wants to be there. This environment is exactly what he’s built for. He is a child-whisperer. There is not a classroom of kids that he can’t handle. Because he loves them. He thinks each and every one of them has something to offer this world and is special.

What you might not know is that even though he loves it, it is tough. Tougher than he ever imagined. Every night he comes home completely exhausted and utterly stressed. Yesterday, a boy pulled down another boy’s pants in the middle of his class. They then chased each other around and fought. Today, a boy called him a “m-fer” and peed on the floor. After school, two boys got in a terrible fist-fight on the front lawn. This is his normal, his every day. He is beside himself because all he wants to do his connect with these kids and teach but he can’t. He’s new to this school and has to get them to trust him. He’s working so hard. True, he is just a phys ed teacher but he wants to teach them so much more. He borrows books from his own children to let his students read or read to them. He thinks of ways he can incorporate math facts and spelling words and reading into his phys ed lessons. He wants to inspire. He wants them to know there’s so much that they can do with their life. But after fighting and pee and swear words, he wonders if it’s possible. If it’s worth it. If he can do it. He doesn’t even mention that his paycheck is way less this year. He’s not in it for the money.

At a school near you, there is a teacher who is trying with all his might to make a difference. He is trying to show these kids there is more to life than cell phones and babies too young and poverty. He is trying to convince them that they are special and worthy and have something to offer this world. At a school near you, there is a teacher that cares. He’s trying. So hard. Near you.


9 responses to “At a School Near You

  1. Oh wow. I hope he knows that so many parents appreciate him more than they say. Even if it seems that he is not helping, I bet there is at least one student who sees that there is a better way of living. It’s new to them, not the norm, and they don’t know how to react. However, the picture of this man, and his way of life, will stay with them forever. HUGS!

  2. Hope the year gets better for him. So much respect for him and other teachers like that. You must be so proud :o)

  3. I could have written the same thing about my husband (but not as good as you). We sure are lucky wives.

  4. some parents do realize though…
    and some of those kids do too…

  5. The beginning is always rough – even tougher when you’re the “new kid” in town. By October, I’m sure he won’t feel the same kind of stress and he’ll start seeing the progress in kids he believes in. Love how you honored him here! Good luck!

  6. before i got moved to the elementary school last year, i spent 5 years at “that school” in our district. the one where all of the “undesirable” kids were shipped off to when the regular schools were tired of them. it was hard….and i was nervous the first few weeks. austin worried about me there…not for my safety, but because i was emotionally drained. once i started getting past the cuss words, the rough exteriors of the kids….i heard their stories. and i started to understand. that didn’t make their behaviors okay….but i understood. tell matt to keep his head up… never let up on them. i hade one senior boy who looked at me one day when i was making him finish his english IV work and he said, “why do you care if i finish this work? what’s it matter to you if i pass the class anyway?? no one else has ever cared”. i was floored. when he graduated a few months later, his mom came up and hugged my neck, crying…and thanking me for giving her son a chance. that moment made up for ALL of the other bad moments when kids walked out on my class, cussed me out, or just plain gave up on school and dropped out after i had invested SO much in them. your husband’s students are blessed to have a p.e. teacher who truly cares….and one day down the road, they’ll appreciate something that he taught them.

  7. He is truly amazing. Even is he only touches one child. It’s a child who may never have amounted to anything. I wish that someone would step up and fix the education process. The schools are tough because each year more and more funding is removed because the scores don’t meet the standards. What fails to be seen are all of the things these children deal with on a daily basis and then are expected to attend school and learn. Because the teachers are treated so poorly many of them HAVE given up. It’s a bad combination. Teachers like Matt are truly an inspiration to all. They never give up on these kids who can learn when they feel safe, when they trust. Hug him for me. I am honored to know him.

  8. So much gratitude for the work that teachers do. Although it may sound trite, teachers truly do make a difference.

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