Tuesday, April 30, 2013

His Name is Duke

Tomorrow is my last day student teaching. Today I put my name up on the blackboard along with the address of this blog so that my students could keep in touch with me in the future. The future... such a huge, scary word. I don't know if I'll ever get to see them again. So many of them, going to grow up and go so many different ways. It makes me very sad on the inside. Our paths crossed for so short a time.

They all wanted to know if I had written about them. I explained how I tried to keep my blog a little bit impersonal lately, because I was going through some deep things in my life. Plus, I didn't want them to feel like they were being talked about behind their backs. But I told Montrell and Duke that I had written about them, and when I went to check my blog, I couldn't find Duke's post. Then I realized, I had put it on my personal blog because it had been so deep to me that I didn't even want to share it here.

But I went and found it and dragged it over here to publish, so that he can see how the Lord used him in my life on some very hard days these semester. There are two posts I wrote about him, back to back.

Post One:
Teaching had a major bump: Duke.
Handsome, sweet Duke. Sitting in the back row with his arms crossed, annoyed and disgusted. The first student to openly complain about my teaching. Not my teaching really, but my subject matter. Not that he didn't like writing either - he feels mad at his peers. His tastes differ from theirs and he seems mad because he has to write and read it aloud. He'd rather not write at all.
I see myself mirrored in his rebellious face. Mad at the school, at my peers, willing myself to not even graduate if I could just get away from it all.
I tried to reach out to him. I gave a 20-minute lecture about minority opinion and the power of the underdog finding a voice. His expression and crossed-arm stance never changed, but I tried.
I feel I failed.
Duke, I'm so sorry.
I want to quit, too.

Post Two:
Duke. I got to focus on him a little during seatwork time. He plays guitar, bass, piano. Not any band  instruments. Here are some of his poems, because I'm sure you're sick of reading my own words by now. This is an acrostic poem.

Gently hand crafted
Uses you
Art of playing and
Reading music

These are ABC poems.
An American
Dances to the
Extravagant song in the key of

I told him a little about my pitiful piano skills, about my violin teacher quitting on me because she said I was a waste of her time. At the end of class, Duke raised his hand and said he wanted to read a poem he'd been working on while zoning out on my lecture on connotation/denotation. 

It was another ABC.

Amazingly, she
Blossoms, she
Certainly loves
Dogs, she
Encourages your
Greatly with
Happiness and
O'Brien is the best

I about bawled in class, in front of 35 kids. I had to make it not a big deal. It was our secret, 
his and mine. I've got your back, Duke. Sandy Chambers, my teacher, told me that Duke is restless because  he lives so far away that he can never socialize with his classmates, have them over, etc. His parents are pulling him at the end of the year and putting him in a public school closer so that he can start having friendships. I felt this huge sadness, this despair, that I will never see him again and have no way to ever contact him. I wish I could know him longer. I don't want him to walk out of my life. I shouldn't have gotten  attached. 


  1. God has His reasons for putting people in our path. Even the other students... Grma

  2. This post made me cry and remember that we all have problems we Don't tell people about. Thank you and you are an amazing writer!