Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Let Me Tell You About "Jimmy"

I have this student on my senior caseload, "Jimmy", and he's been one of mine since he was a freshman. Jimmy came in to my school with top scores from 8th grade. He could have done so much with his skill level but alas he got mixed up with the wrong crowd and that success never came. Without studying or going to any classes, Jimmy scored in the 80s on each of his Regents exams, imagine had he actually gone to any classes!

We've had numerous meetings with his parents to discuss Jimmy, and each time he'd promise to make a change. That never happened. He'd go to class for a little while and then go right back to cutting. All of the teachers, deans, security guards, APs, and principal know who Jimmy is from his daily roaming of the halls. I've personally excorted Jimmy to class on several occasions. Now if you can picture it, Jimmy is about 6'5" and easily 200lbs, he's quite scary upon first glance, until he smiles. I've dubbed him my body guard and "the big teddy bear" to the point that yesterday he admitted other people are calling him "teddy bear" now.

At 17yrs old, Jimmy only has 12 credits when he should have at least 30+ credits. Technically, he's only a sophomore. His only option at this point is to wait for his class to graduate so that he can enroll in a GED program. I tell you all this because I think something stuck yesterday.

Jimmy comes to visit my office every once in a blue moon and yesterday he happened to come by when several of my boys from the all boys class came in. After I explained to him what the program was, a light bulb went off. "Hey, Jimmy, why don't you come and talk to the boys today?"
"Why, to tell them what not to do so they don't end up like me?"
"Sure, I'll do it!"

Do you know that he actually did it? He came in on time (he's never on time to his own classes!), and he spoke to the boys in the purest, realest, most honest way possible. He broke it down to them what cutting will eventually lead to. He admitted that he's a borderline alcoholic. He explained that with 12 credits and a GED the only way he'll get a job is through his father's job, which means he's stuck under his dad until he can afford to put himself through school. He shared that he's tired of being such a huge disappointment to his mother and seeing her cry. How no matter how much he know he's f'd up, he just can't seem to get it together, and that now because of his past mistakes all of his friends are leaving and he has to stay behind. He cursed, told them not to laugh when they giggled at his stupidity, and he was AMAZING. The boys asked question and he answered each and every one of them no matter how hard or personal.

The absolute best part of it all? The next period he came down and asked me how he did, and I told him how proud I was of him (despite all the cursing, but he said he wanted to speak to them the only way they would truly understand), and then...wait for it...he said: "Miss, I think I'd like to do that again? Do you know how I could make that happen?"

Yes, my big burly teddy bear, finally wants to do something, and I am going to try my best to make that happen for him!!!!



Sarah said...

how awesome is that! we knew there was that in him... how are our other kiddies doing?

Anonymous said...

Oh Ms. E! Hopefully he'll continue on a better path!

Chocolate Mom aka Blupoetres said...

@Sarah - The kiddies are doing well for the most part - tonight is Senior Awards, so this is the nice part!!

Ms. Understood said...

I hope that is the niche that is going to be the motivation he needs. Helping others clearly inspires him. Maybe volunteering to be a big brother/adopting a freshman.

NewMommy2B said...

Wow, I guess it's true that everyone has to find their niche.
Maybe he's like me :) and had to learn things the hard way LOL

Sarah said...

is he getting an award? wish i was there to partake and see the kids getting the awards... =(

Ms. Understood said...

Oh, and I meant to say the first time, when I saw your post title, I started singing "Jimmy got soul" from Dreamgirls LOL.

Chocolate Mom aka Blupoetres said...

@Ms. U - Too funny I was singing the same song!!! LOL

@Sara - There would need to be a whole new category for "Jimmy"! But hope to see you soon!!