Friday, May 07, 2010

So there's this kid..... it's always about that ONE kid, isn't it.....
RL is this big gumpy kid, rough around the edges, but just plain loveable, nowhere near as tough as he'd have you think he is. He's incredibly intelligent, not afraid to be wrong, willing to speak his mind, take a chance, with a smile that would melt you heart. He stands almost a foot taller than me in his ubiquitous black Carhartt jacket and has that look that makes you think he is going to plunk every kid he walks by on the head. In reality, RL is a big ol' softie, soft spoken, and gentle.
He lives on the edge though. Trouble seems to come looking for him way too often. The notes from subs say he was off task, bothering others, disrespectful. Every time I wonder if they really have the right kid. When he gets suspended once again for getting into a scuffle, I wonder how the heck THIS kid could ever do that.
When I took kids to a college hockey game, RL brought in his money and permission slip with pride. Unlike many of the students I was taking, this was a rare opportunity for him to do something BIG. His family doesn't do those kinds of things, and I was sure the $15 to go had been a hardship. I was a little surprised he was going. However, when the trip was all said and done, he was the ONE kid of the 25 I took to say "thank you" as he exited the bus. He added, "It was fun!"
Then today, there he is, in the office again. This time for chewing tobacco, an automatic 3 days out of school. The principal stuck his head in my room, saying RL was concerned about his work, so I went over there, taking his test he'd be missing today, along with a calculator, admonishing him, but encouraging him to think and do well on his test. When I saw his mom walk in the office, I introduced myself to her and told her what a wonderful young man her son was. She looked surprised and thanked me. I took his incomplete test and told him I'd hang onto it for him. As they walked down the hall together, RL looked back at me over his shoulder, a shy smile my way as I waved goodbye.
There's always that one kid.....

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