Meet You Tomorrow

Dear Terrence,

We haven’t met, but by the time twenty four hours pass, we will have met. I might not even realize it yet, for you sometimes manage to keep yourself hidden in the rank and file, just another face in a sea of first day jitters, but more than likely, I’ll have a pretty good idea who you are, and how many of you there are as well.

Part of me wants to say something like this: It’s all up to you. Whether I meet you or not is a simple question of self control. You could simply blend in, follow the examples you see around you of successful students, and you could just disappear before you even make your entrance. I want to say that’s possible, but I’m not sure a thirteen-year-old has that kind of fortitude. At your age, you tend to make things more complicated than they really are, and combined with your fatalism, that makes it highly unlikely that I won’t meet you. You’ll feel unjustly accused, or you’ll suspect someone across the room is talking about you, or you’ll simply need some attention, or a thousand and one other motivations might click and then we’ll meet.

I could actually be on the lookout for you: all I have to do is take my roll sheets down the seventh-grade hall and ask for references. It seems unfair now, and I strenuously avoided any comments from anyone about any of my students, but truth be told, that’s what “real life” — whatever that might be — is like.

All that being said, I have no doubt I’ll figure out who you are fairly quickly. At risk kids wear their cracks on their sleeves even when they think they are being impenetrable, and your body language will likely give you away. So the real question is, what then? When I figure out who you are, when I tell you the jig’s up, what then? Hopefully, I’ll do better with you this year than I did last year, which was better than the year before that. But will it be enough? Can we make it?

We’ll start to see tomorrow.

Concerned as always,
Your Future Teacher

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