Absent Minded Professor

20 Jan

I’ve heard the stories.  The stories about teachers who’ve affected some kid’s life in a dramatic way. The stories of teachers going above and beyond to make a difference.  But in all the years my four kids have been in school, I have never experienced it.  Oh, there’s been some good teachers along the way, but never a truly outstanding one who’s made a difference.

Until now.

For years, Amp has struggled in school.  Amp, the genius.  An incredibly well-spoken, well-versed, high test scoring genius.  With a D average.

All through grade school it was organization, or lack of, that killed him.  He’d complete his homework at the table, put it in his folder, and somehow lose it before he got to class.  Over and over again, he’d forget a paper at school, or he’d forget his homework at home.  His teachers would punish him with no recess or give him extra work.  And still, his organization skills never improved.

We tried EVERYTHING.  And I do mean EVERYTHING to help him.   A few of his teachers would offer suggestions, but nothing seemed to work.

Seventh grade was the worst for him.  He had a very controlling teacher who thought she could bully him into getting his work turned in.  She never allowed him recess or PE.  She threatened to keep him from assemblies, concerts and even Field Day.

To save him, we worked with her to devise a plan. She would initial that he had written all his assignments down, and we would initial that he’d done them all, yet somehow, he would not have it to turn in.

His confidence began to suffer, and he began to get upset at not being able to fix himself.  At that point, Hubby and I thought it best to just help him get through the year without being too traumatized.

His struggle continued into high school.  Our struggles continued as well, as we worked to find reasons and solutions for his continuing issues with focusing and organization.  All the while,  we worked to keep his confidence up while he continued to berate himself.

So when his English teacher began to see the Amp we know and love, our hopes soared.  She understood he needed time to think about his writing topic, and needed time to perfect it in his head before he committed it to paper.  She didn’t push deadlines on him and assured us he could turn his written assignments in as he finished them.

Once turned in, she would rant and rave about how great they were, to us and to him.  She began to encourage him which helped to boost his esteem.  Soon, he was showing a bigger commitment to doing homework, and although he still struggles with deadlines, the improvement is remarkable.

Other teachers have noticed a change as well.  He participates more and appears to have greater self-confidence.

He’s still getting low grades, but there is now a light at the end of the tunnel.  We see it, but most importantly, I think Amp sees it.

Oh there’ll be hurdles along the way.  Take this weekend for example.  He’d planned to use the long weekend to catch up on missing homework.  Except he left his books at school.  Seems like there’s always something holding him back.

Not willing to give up, I texted Mrs. English Teacher, who immediately responded with, “I was going to school on Monday anyway.  He can meet me there.”

I want to bow at this lady’s feet and kiss her ring.  Or at the very least, buy her dinner.  It’s an incredible feeling to have one of his teachers finally see in him what we’ve always seen.

She occasionally brings me up to speed through email, and each time she writes, I send a very teary eyed thank you email in return.

Her latest email:   Amp has been on fire this semester. He is actively participating and doing quality work. I submitted his comic strip to a contest. Cross your fingers. Love that kid.

Finally someone is on his side.  Perhaps the genius in him will push his way out and squash the uncertain, indecisive, self-deprecating person he has become over the years.

Oh, did I mention?  This is the same teacher who at the beginning of the year, criticized Mario for quitting dance.  At that time, I worried tremendously about her being Amp’s teacher, thinking he had another year of bullying ahead of him.

I’m proud to admit, I was completely wrong.  She’s the best thing that could have happened to him.

And she’s definitely got my vote.

teacher 2

This one just cracked me up.

teacher of the year


Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Family, Parenting


Tags: ,

12 responses to “Absent Minded Professor

  1. Practical Parsimony

    January 20, 2014 at 6:06 am

    When I taught GED, I had students who suffered from school. Yes, school was a trial. I made a conscious effort not to be another one of those teachers. I was amazed and so were some of the parents at how the kids responded. This time in my life was very fulfilling because I could see I was making a difference. (but not always) When the parents were at my feet, I was in awe of what had happened. There are truly brilliant students who are pushed out of school for whatever reason. They are not just a bunch of losers. It was a privilege to see self-confidence return in young people. Well, I am not meaning to toot my own horn, but I suppose I did. I am glad a teacher made a difference in your son’s life.

    • shadowrun300

      January 21, 2014 at 3:20 am

      I used to teach too, so I know how difficult school can be for some. What’s saddest for me is seeing Amp, who scores incredibly high on standardized tests, not do well in school. And because his grades are low, he’s seen in a different light. So to have this teacher see what he’s capable of, and give him some confidence back, has been a great joy. It literally brings me to tears sometimes.
      I’m sure there were many a parent who was thrilled to have you as their child’s teacher. I tried to be that kind of teacher as well. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it can make a huge difference to some – student and parent alike.

  2. llcooljoe

    January 20, 2014 at 6:38 am

    I had a one teacher that turned things around for me at school because she believed in me, and that was my English teacher too. I’m glad Amp has found someone that understands his needs and that he’s finally seeing things improve. Wonderful news!

    • shadowrun300

      January 21, 2014 at 3:24 am

      After years of blaming himself for being so absent minded, it’s nice to see him gain some confidence in himself again. He’s far from “cured”, but he’s happier. And I believe that will lead him to do better. He’s a great kid. He deserves a chance, and she’s giving it to him.

  3. towardshealthylife

    January 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    You know I am a bit like your son, I always forgot my stuff everywhere and still do lol
    Wow so happy for him and for you! A teacher who takes the time to look a little bit closer is very rare!

    • shadowrun300

      January 21, 2014 at 3:28 am

      I keep telling him is absent-mindedness is not unusual. 🙂
      He began telling himself he would never be able to remember everything he was supposed to remember, and he basically gave up trying. Anything we’d try would last for a little while, but he’d resort back to forgetting, which basically gave him proof that he couldn’t do it. He was so down on himself. Mrs. English Teacher couldn’t have come at a better time.

  4. Abby

    January 20, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Hooray for Mrs. English Teacher! And how about that twist “ending” – as we learn she’s the Mario critic!
    And good on you for giving her such high praise. It seems I know of more burnt out teachers that are just collecting a paycheck than those who are really passionate about teaching kids to love learning and accepting their individual styles.. Although… I’m still steaming about the teacher that wanted to keep him from Field Day (!!)

    • shadowrun300

      January 21, 2014 at 3:39 am

      When I found out her mean dance teacher was his English teacher, I was petrified. I really thought she’d take it out on him. NEVER would I have believed she would be the one to take him under her wing and encourage him like she has.
      Amp is a naturally curious kid, and is so much smarter than I could ever be. He’s just so down on himself right now, he doesn’t believe he can succeed at anything.
      The bully teacher was an English teacher as well. (And my coworker at one point.) I never mailed it, but I wrote her a very long, angry letter about how she was holding him down, and not allowing him to succeed. It’s not like he WANTED to be like he was. He WANTED to do things right, and often got angry at himself for failing. He needed support from more than just us, and she wasn’t willing to budge. She expected him to conform to her vision of a student, and because he couldn’t do it, she punished him. I STILL am steaming about it. In fact, I need to stop writing now. All those emotions are coming back…

  5. territerri

    January 22, 2014 at 3:06 am

    I am SO happy for you and for Amp. We know what you and your hubby have been through and I understand what Amp has been through. I know that hopeless feeling and just wanting to get him through. There was a teacher, like the one you describe, who came into our son’s life and she was our miracle. I’m so glad Amp has someone on his side.

    As for the teacher who wanted to bully him, we had one of those t0o. Oh, I wanted to claw her eyes out! Teachers like that should not be allowed to work with kids. Ugh!

    • shadowrun300

      January 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Yes! I wanted to claw her eyes out! I still do! How can she call herself a teacher? She didn’t teach him ONE thing, except to feel bad about himself because he couldn’t conform to her. Not all students learn the same. And THAT’S what Mrs. English Teacher understands. She’s giving him the chance to shine, and I’m hoping his confidence will spill over into his other subjects, and soon those teachers will see the Amp we know and love.
      I’m glad Jake had one of those teachers too. It makes such a huge difference to have someone on your side.

  6. Meleah Rebeccah

    January 22, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Oh my goodness. This made me all teary-eyed!

    I am soooo happy Amp’s English teacher finally GETS HIM and his confidence is soaring upward. That is FANTASTIC! What a fabulous teacher. How awesome for Amp – AND YOU!

    • shadowrun300

      January 23, 2014 at 2:10 am

      Now when he comes home, his reply to my “How was your day?” is “Not bad!” Which is a thousand times better than the grumbling I used to get. He has hope again. Such a great feeling!


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