Japanimation, Scotland, and the Revolutionary War

My first few years of teaching were spent in a low socioeconomic area and my last few years of teaching were spent in a high socioeconomic area.  People always ask me which one I liked the most...which is a super hard question, because both were absolutely wonderful for completely different reasons.  One place taught me to deeply love my students and how to be their friend, care taker and advocate.  One place taught me how to set my expectations high for the students, how to spur them on to their greatest potential and how to actually teach! 

Last night, I was asked by one of my early former students to be their friend on Facebook.  She's now a senior in high school, which makes me feel incredible old...since I was her 4th grade teacher!  Dang, I'm old.  Anyways, it was so interesting checking out her profile, reading how she's doing, learning that she is pregnant, and just realizing how much I prayed for my kiddos at the time, but haven't in a long time. 

I was checking out her friends, seeing if she was friends with any of my other former students when I came across a little girl who I absolutely loved.  I honestly thought of her as my child.  She was from a difficult family, a minority in a predominately minority group, picked on, strange...she was finally diagnosed as having aspergers when she was in my class.  She was enthralled with the Revolutionary War, and could give any history professor a run for their money.  She loved Japanese animation and Scotland...where her ancestors were from.  She looked unkept, never had her hair combed, wore dirty clothes to school.  And I fell in love.  I was her stability.

Each morning before school, she would come into my room and I would fix her hair...comb it out, braid it or put it in pig tails with cute, colorful, girly clips (and some days, wash and sanitize my hands immediately!).  And then she would catch up on some of her never ending pile of late work or read under the reading tree.  She would talk to me about the Japanimation books she was reading, and even lent me a few to read...I learned that Japanimation books are read from the back to the front, and countless things about the Revolutionary War...and even tried to get her parents to allow her to go to a youth camp I worked at during college. 

After I left my school, I lost touch with this little girl.  Seeing her on Facebook brought back so many memories.  And convicted me to never forget God's children who he let me teach for a year.  She's listed her religious beliefs as atheist, and is into war reenactment.  Man, have I been burdened to pray.  I used to pray that she would make it through the tough years of middle school and high school, and then go on to something great, because I knew she was so bright and capable...I used to talk to her about going to college, hoping to set her mind to what she could do.  And that will continue to be my prayer.  She's made it through middle school, graduates next year, and I will pray fervently that a Godly mentor will come into her life, someone who she identifies with and trusts, that will spur her on towards good, bring her life into the light, and love her as I could do 7 years ago.


Beth Wooten said...

I'm tempted to randomly friend ol' B. I'm also curious about who is pregnant. It's not Jayla is it?

Hey, remember when our classes were pen pals? And when I drove my class in a van over to E. Ray without getting permission slips or really even telling anyone what we were doing?

Molly said...

those were the days, for sure!! and how in the world did you get a van????

Anonymous said...

What was her name? I can see her plain as day and remember how you anguished over her. I think most teachers have that one child that never quite leaves their thoughts. I remember two of mine - both boys - one of now who must be a grown man, and how I tried my best to help him believe he was worthwhile. I hope it was enough. Mom