The Comfort of Old Friends

When my horoscope read, “Get things done today so that you’ll have time later in the week to reconnect with someone,” I thought they were talking about the BF and I. Imagine my surprise when I’m walking out of the office and I hear a loud, raspy voice that could belong to none other than my mentee from two years ago.
She came by to say hello and we sat around for two hours talking about students, work, and her never-ending issues for not fitting the mold. Despite all the struggles, she’s maintained a sense of humor and has even more passion about educating our students.
I wish some people could get past their issues and realize what a great fit she is for our kids. I can vouch for her because for the last two years, the students I have received from her are kids that are prepared for me. They’ve retained instruction and have developed the work ethic needed to be 7th graders. Sure, I have to nudge it out of them at first, but when I find out she was their teacher, I know they have no excuses. In her class, the expectations are never lowered—no matter what.
Being her mentor, I never felt I had anything to teach her. With her, I saw myself as someone who just needed to help her get situated in our school. She knew so much, not just because she was a good student but also because she had her Street Smarts Ph.D. In fact, I probably learned more from her than she did from me.
I know that when her path leads her elsewhere, so many kids are going to lose out. For many of them, she is that one chance that they have to finally break the mold and create a different future for themselves.