I just finished my 17th year of teaching. Yesterday was the first time I’ve ran into a student and was totally, completely amazed at who he had grown up to be. I’ve been surprised, impressed and glad to see some students change their lives around. But not a total 180 degree about face in their personality.
This kid was obnoxious in junior high. He was self-centered, went out of his way to make my class miserable, and often seemed to enjoy making other students miserable too. Definitely a smart kid, he still flunked most of his classes. I figured he might get his act together sometime, at least academically, so I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him succeed. But I assumed he would end up in some self-serving career like used car salesman, sports promoter or manager, PR man for BP, politician. Something like that.
I, never in a million years would have pictured him volunteering with Greenpeace, spending the last few years protecting rain forests and whales. I also would have never expected him to admit that before Greenpeace he received his EMT certificate, and gave that up because he couldn’t stand the sight of other people’s blood. His junior high bravado would never have allowed him to admit that.
Well, he plans to go back to school sometime, once he decides what he wants to be when he grows up (he’s 23 now). But until then he’s thinking of more volunteer work, off in one of several 3rd world countries he mentioned (that I can’t remember).
Well, good luck man. And thanks for rejuvenating my faith in humanity (and junior high kids).