Sunday, August 5, 2007

Talk About An Inspiration

I met "JC" when I was moonlighting as a continuation ed teacher. I had a full-time job teaching math and computer science to high schoolers, but also worked two nights a week trying to help kids who'd dropped out of high school get their GED. This was pre-children, back when I didn't really feel qualified to be a mentor teacher. But JC arrived one night eager to help, ready to learn the ropes from someone who was still learning the ropes herself. She already had a child and was holding down three part-time jobs, but she was also somehow whittling away at her degree. Her dream was to become a teacher. I looked forward to Tuesday and Thursday nights with JC. She said I inspired her, but she was an inspiration to me. Always cheerful, willing to absorb, contribute, and improve, she brought a real sense of calm determination in getting those "drop outs" to succeed. She also brought homemade tamales. And cookies. And a wonderful, heartfelt laugh. After my first son was born, I stopped working at the continuation school. And as the years passed, I lost touch with JC. But this week (as I was in the midst of supervising a camping trip with a bunch of my sons' "monkey boy" friends) I got a phone message from her. "Call me back!" she said. "You'll never guess what I'm up to now!" So I did, and I learned that she is now a high school vice principal. Vice principal! From 3 part time jobs to support her family, to endless night school classes earning her BA and her teaching credential, she now also had an administrative degree! "I used to get sent to the vice principal's office," she chuckled. "Now I am the vice principal!" Talk about hard work and determination. Talk about an inspiration.

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