I ran into Jett’s dad at the airport this morning, and was excited to hear how my former student was doing at college this fall. Except he isn’t.
Jett, the inventor of the Shock-a-Dog (that’s a hot dog cooker), who used to bounce off the walls of my classroom, managed to graduate last spring. He was not one of the kids that many people would have expected to graduate, and indeed, he barely made it.
His plan was to start at our community college this fall, though, and become… a science teacher! (Pinnacle of all humanity.) This is still his plan, his dad told me, he’s just put it on hold until next quarter. I hope.
I’ve talked about Jett quite a bit this year during my presentations. I was able to connect with Jett and inspire him because I really valued and appreciated his unique intelligence. Not everyone did.
So do I keep telling Jett’s not-quite-as-inspirational-as-it-used-to-be story? I think I will. Regardless of the eventual outcome (do we ever really arrive, anyway?), I did something to inspire him. And even if he never reaches the fully enlightened state called “Science Teacher,” I was successful with him.
I also need to remind myself that I’ve spent far less than even 1% of Jett’s life with him. A teacher can only do so much. But I think I’ll give him a call one of these days and see if I can do a little more to encourage him. After all, I’m a teacher. I’m used to working overtime.