There are students who are difficult to reach, but once you do reach them, they hold a special place in your heart. Last year, a colleague and I coached the senior girls’ and boys’ basketball teams at our school and it proved to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. For some students, sports are the only place to shine. School is difficult for them, both academically and socially. They seem to get in tons of trouble, both at home and in class.
“A.” was like that. Prior to me coaching his team, he never looked at me in the hallway, never replied when I said hi or good morning to him. If I had to talk to him about his behaviour while I was on recess duty, he told me off and walked away. I needed a lot of patience with this student.
Nothing came easy to him…except basketball. He became the leader that I had never seen in him before and helped coach the younger students who were struggling with being part of a team. He made sure that everyone showed up for practice on time and that everyone participated. He encouraged those who needed guidance and he took his role as team captain very seriously.
Before the first game of our last tournament, he came to sit beside me on the bench for a chat. He handed me a small, pink, pony bead bracelet. At first, I didn’t know what to make of it, and thought that it was a strange gift coming from a 13 year old boy, especially him. Then, he told me that it was a good luck charm, and that he had made it just for me to thank me for being his coach. Right then and there, I knew why I love my job so much. I had finally reached him and earned his respect. I had made a difference in his life, if even just a small one. Isn’t that the main reason why we all choose to teach?