Victoria is a Navy wife and a new mom. Dahvie is an incarcerated Chicago gang member. They write letters back and forth. In this post, Victoria shares the struggles teachers face in loving those hard-to-deal-with students
Victoria: Ughhhh teaching. I’m teaching now. It’s...ok. Mostly. There’s this one student. Sixth grader. Goodness he has my heart so torn. His dad is military, mom works a million jobs. They don’t pay much attention to the kid. He’ll follow me around, chatting away, nonsense about his life, talking about his dogs, what he ate for breakfast, what he thinks about everything and everyone. He just is so searching for love and affirmation and someone to pay attention to him. But he is SO rude. So mean and nasty to the other kids. He really is kinda a bully. But, I don’t know. I wonder sometimes if he even realizes that he’s a bully. Like--he’ll go up to a second grader, intending to help out with homework, and end up calling the kid a dummy for not understanding something. I got so annoyed at him today for being disrespectful during a dodgeball game--telling the other kids they were worthless for not playing right. I just can’t decide whether this student is dear and lovable or a piece of shit!
Dahvie: You know muthafuckin well he ain’t a piece of shit! He’s a kid. Understand why his personality the way it is. If he’s willin to help some one with anything then his intentions is good, if he get mad then lashes out, ok. Teach him a better way of dealin with his frustrations. He’s only mimicking what he see! Maybe his dad speaks his mind and never hold his words back around him you did say he’s military. You know how they CAN be. That could be why he’s rude. Whatever the problem is, don’t be so quick to give up him. Try to help him. Even if it take a lil social attention. Cuz that lil boy was me at a time and I had teachers who thought I was a piece of shit and didn’t give a fuck. But not all teachers was like that and it more was more caring and concern who knows how far it would’ve made it for me. But when it’s all said and done, you entitled to your opinion. [In the margins: And maybe he likes you, like crushes on you.])
Victoria: You’re so right, of course. He’s not a piece of shit, he’s just a kid, trying to figure things out. It’s just hard to stomach when he’s so negative, so misbehaved, so “against the grain” at school. We have this perfect ideal of how kids should be, and it’s just so hard for the kids that don’t fit into that pattern. Or were never taught how to live in that pattern. Your personal experience is really powerful for me here. While you were in school, you were craving so much some positive attention, some care and concern. But the teachers just gave up on you. We have a cheesy sign up at my school that says that: “A teacher’s love may be the only love a child receives today.” Hits hard to know that it’s true. And that it’s the kids that are hardest to love that need it. I’m going to keep on being tough on this kid—he can’t learn that he can get away with bad behavior—but I’m also going to work to affirm the good, and to show him love.