People wont care how much you know until they know
how much you care.
Everyone from Teddy Roosevelt to
John C. Maxwell has been attributed with coining the
phrase above. Its been repeated often enough to
become a well-known truism, especially in education.
After working in a high school classroom for over two
months, I now realize why its so often said.
A couple of weeks ago, I finished my stint as a high
school teacher and lived to tell about it. In retrospect,
it seems a surreal experience. Did I really teach high
school for over two months? Me?
Well, yes, I did, as the pictures found here will
I learned a heck of a lotabout teaching, myself,
and the kids. I learned how much I dont know and
that teaching is hard work. It also had rewarding
Here are a few memories that stand out:
The girl who entered my classroom every day downcast and
complaining about a variety of physical ailments. I
learned that her mother had had a massive heart attack a
year ago and her father lives in a nearby town with his
girlfriend. My student has no contact with her father;
she said they dont get along. After several
conversations, I learned that she was worried that her
mom would have another heart attack and that there would
be no one left to care for her and her younger brother. I
spent a lot of time trying to encourage her.
The Latino student who continually paid me compliments.
One day he told me that I had nicely shaped
eyebrows. That was a first for me. Uh . . . .
thank you, I replied. He asked, Do you wax
them? No. Oh, I get mine waxed at
such-and-such place, he offered. (Ive since
learned about the male eyebrow grooming ritual called
manscaping.). Another day he remarked on the
color of my shirt and that it looked nice on me. (No, he
wasnt another Eddie Haskellthat was an
entirely different student.).
When he didnt come to class one day, I made sure to
ask him where he was when I saw him again. Well,
Im not going to lie to you, Ms. Chrysler. I was
with my girlfriend. She was having an ultrasound.
Oh, I see, I said as I thought about what to
say next. Yeah, shes pregnant, he
added, But Im gonna stick with her through
We had a talk about responsibility and I tried to
encourage him by saying that, although life was going to
be hard for awhile, he could get through this. He held
out his clenched hand to knock his knuckles against mine
and said, Ms. Chrysler, youre LE-GIT. I
have to admit that his friendly demeanor was a welcome
change from some of the more surly students, even if I
did have to tell him to clean up your
language one too many times. The last day of class,
he extended the ultimate compliment: Ms. Chrysler,
I probably shouldnt say this, but . . . youre
a BADASS! High praise indeed.
The young Latino in my Sales & Marketing class who
was barely passing, although it wasnt for lack of
effort. I could tell that he wanted to do well. I had
been instructed to give him verbal directions when
assigning projects, since he couldnt read as well
as most of the others. A week before graduation, I
learned that his father was dying of a brain tumor and
that he and his brother would miss school that week.
However, he very much wanted to graduate. After
consulting with his counselor, I excused him from the
final project and exam. He squeaked by and was able to
graduate just days after his father passed away. I was
touched when he came to class that week and asked me to
sign his annual. He told me that he wanted to be an auto
mechanic and open his own shop one day. My heart ached
for him. I hope he achieves his dream.
It is truekids really dont care how much you
know until they know how much you care.