Besides being International Day, Friday was also a day for great celebration. Just before the (incredibly awesome and fun) Black Out Young Life club, one of my students came over and told me that he had gotten the approval to go to the Moshi Sports Tournament in two weeks. I couldn’t even contain my excitement.
This might seem like a little thing, but I have been fighting for this student day in and day out for the last four weeks. As a teacher, I see both sides of the equation. I understand that grades and academics are important. But I also get that there are students who are barely successful in the classroom who thrive on the sports field. To rob a student of their opportunity to excel in music or sports or drama just because they struggle academically…. I can’t be a part of that. So I stand up for these students in staff meeting, when I’d much rather just sit and listen passively. I meet with the principal after school to discuss action plans to help these students. I get annoying and stick to these students like glue about getting their homework done and turned in on time. I encourage and challenge and pray to God for small successes in the classroom. And when those students start standing up in class and leading the group in answering questions (and their answers are on-target), I cheer on the inside. I parade their engagement to the rest of the teachers in staff meeting. I tell everyone who will listen how proud I am.
And when everything pays off with one small decision by the administration to allow this student to participate in a single weekend sports tournament, I scream and jump and yell with excitement. Its okay that I am more excited about this than the student is… because this is one victory I bought and paid for… and it won’t be the last!