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Teacher Wrestles with Future of Troubled Students

Teacher Wrestles with Future of Troubled Students

In one of his first teaching jobs, teacher and blogger Steven Singer was assigned to "a bunch of students from grades 6-8 who simply couldn't make it in a regular setting," he said, according to his blog post, "The Killer in My Classroom."

Though it was his first year teaching in the district, he says he had a reputation "for being able to relate with hard to reach kids," so he was placed in an alternative education classroom.

As he wonders about the "could have beens" for one of his first students, it's obvious why Singer is so relatable. He cares.

Singer described Tyrell- a face he said enters his minds on his occasional nights of poor sleep, "sitting up in the pre-morning gloom."

Tyrell was not like the other students in the alternative ed classroom. According to Singer, it was almost like alternative ed was a prison sentence for the bright learner.

"He was a gentle giant. Always calm and in control, well above the others academically. When one of the others lost his cool, Tyrell would help talk him down," he said.

That's why Tyrell's fate—a convicted killer in a drive-by shooting—haunts Singer at night.

"Police think it was a drug related hit. Tyrell was in the backseat. He put his gun to the driver's head and pulled the trigger. Bam. No more future for either of them."

Singer remembers conversations with Tyrell about what he wanted to do with his life. For Tyrell, the options seemed limited.

"'Guy like me do only one of two things,' he said, 'He plays some ball or he runs on the streets.' I asked him to explain and he told me about his brothers—how they sold drugs, bought fancy cars, took care of the family," Singer said.

To this day, Singer still wonders if there was anything he could do as Tyrell's mentor to change the course of his future.

"Is there something I could have done? Do the words exist for me to have convinced him to change his path?...And most importantly—why am I the only one who seems to care?"

Singer's struggles represents the struggles that many educators go through and also represents the reason why so many individuals decide to choose the profession in the first place.

Read the full post here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

5/20/2015

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