Debut 2013

Dear Terrence,

There you are! I’ve been wondering if you’d decided not to come to school at all this year, but it just turned out that you were going to a different school and hadn’t transferred to our happy classroom yet.

I thought I might have recognized you when I saw you, the new kid, walking down the hall. It was something about how you walked, how you carried yourself, how you wore your hair, how you interacted with people — hints of thug-wanna-be — that made me think, “Well, is that Terrence?” before I’d even met you.

You might have noticed that I’m trying for early intervention with you. I want to you to see early on that, despite your tendency to fly into disrespectful mini-rages when being redirected, despite your tendency to put your head down in class, despite your tendency to speak whatever comes into your mind, despite your tendency to get up and wander anywhere in the classroom you choose, I’m still on your side, I’m still hoping to help you, and I still think you can do better than you’re doing now.

You’ve got a lot to work on, though. You’ve built up a lot of bad habits that land you squarely and immediately in trouble, and you don’t seem to realize that you quickly create for yourself a reputation. Once that bad reputation is in place, few adults will give you the benefit of any doubt. I’m trying not to let that sway me, but I’ll be honest: eventually, and it might be sooner rather than later, I’ll reach a point that I decide it’s in everyone else’s best interest to get you out of the classroom through administrative referral and the accompanying suspension. In other words, I’ll get tired of dealing with the same issues again and again. You show progress, and I’ll have seemingly endless patience; otherwise, it’s going to be a long year for you in my class.

I don’t mean that to sound like a threat. It probably does to you. You’ve probably heard things like this from other teachers. Still, it’s your behavior that brings this on you. You’ll notice there are plenty of students I never have such conversations with. You can be in that group. But you’re the only one who can put yourself in that group.

Your Teacher


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