Friday, May 11, 2018

Teaching Tip #160

Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #160

It’s what we all do when no one is watching that really counts.  And sometimes it’s what we do that we don’t even remember that makes a huge difference in the lives of our students.  

It’s What You Do When You Think No One Is Watching (installment 1)
As I stood in the double door leading into the student section of the gym, I couldn’t hear myself say, “How’s it going?” to Mr. Lingen who was leaning against the yellow pads beneath the basket.  
Every student was on their feet, clapping along to the school song.  With the final chants of “Mighty, mighty, Prowlers, mighty!” echoing, coach Bittner grabbed the mic from Mr. Biermaier addressed the student body about her volleyball team which, in just a few hours, would be playing in the section championship for the third straight year with a chance to return to state.
I leaned over and asked Mr. Lingen how he was doing designing the Western Civ curriculum which would be offered for college credit next semester.
He rolled his eyes and said that it was a slow process but that he was looking forward to it.
Then coach Bittner began introducing the varsity players.  As each girl ran to the center of the gym, I began counting the pairs of Crocs I saw.  Luckily for them, there were none. Wow, I thought.  That’s impressive.  At least they weren’t wearing baseball caps like some of the other supposed student-athletes in our other programs.  
My thought process was broken when Shelby was introduced.  She hopped up from the front row of bleachers and bounded toward the row of volleyball players.  She then gave each girl a high five as she ran down the line and took her place at the head. In Crocs.
Shelby had black Crocs on.  Oh lord, I thought, and fished my phone out of my pocket.  I searched for Shelby’s last text. Then I typed the phrase #weretryingtohaveasociety and hit send.
Shelby and Hannah said a few words to the cheering crowd about how they hoped everyone comes to the game, how much the fans meant to them, and how, hopefully, they would see them all down at state next week.
And just like that, the band stood in the upper deck and began pounding out the school song to end the pep fest.
The volleyball players fled the gym, for the buses that would take them to the game in Moorehead were waiting to be boarded.
I pressed my back against the hallway to avoid the stampede.  I waited for the steady stream of players, students, parents, and faculty to subside.
Then I stepped back in the gym looking for someone to harass.  What I noticed stopped me in my tracks.
Nate, one of our special needs students, sat in his wheelchair not five feet from me at the edge of the bleachers.  As a diehard Prowler sports fan, he was decked out in a Prowler jersey and had streaks of blue and gold across each cheek.  
Shelby knelt down beside him with a huge grin on her face.  She asked him how he was doing and if he was going to the game.
Nate grinned broadly and shook his head.  Then he pointed at something on his iPad.
I backed away but continued to watch.
Shelby talked and smiled and nodded her head.  She was in no hurry.  It’s like she doesn’t even know she will be playing in one of the biggest games of her volleyball career in just a few hours, I thought.  In fact, it looks like she could care less.  This kid is a born teacher. I just hope she gets done with her degree in time to come back to Challenger so she can teach Cash.
“Well, Nate,” she said, putting her hand on his shoulder, “if you can’t make it tonight, listen to us on the radio!  I’ll see you on Monday!”
With that Shelby gave Nate a high five, and she was gone.

Right then a thought popped into my head, I hope Kenzie grows up to be just like Shelby.

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