I never planned on being a slacker student.
I still remember sitting in an 8th grade class talking to the high school counselor about the classes I would take so I could one day go to law school. I’m not sure why law school was so important to me, but at that time, it was.
Then I started high school and math was a disaster and English, the class I loved more than anything else, the class that should’ve been my refuge, a place I could shine, was turned into a class where I hid Karate Kid (or whatever movie was big at the time) books and tiger Beat magazines behind the novels I was assigned to read. Usually, my teacher read aloud to us, but first, she had us cross out all the curse words. I don’t remember a single one of those novels, but I do remember I thought Ralph Macchio was hot and I planned on marrying Tom Cruise if I ever made it to Hollywood.
I dropped the tough history class and ended up in a class taught by a coach. He liked to watch basketball. I didn’t care about basketball, but I did love reading Gone With the Wind and The Mists of Avalon in his class. I don’t remember much else.
Band challenged me, newspaper challenged me, but nothing else. After that first year, I chose to do the least amount of work in school I could possibly do and still end up with a diploma.
It took a couple years of tough college courses for me to remember I actually loved school.
These days I stand in front of a classroom teaching journalism, and I love it. I hope I inspire my students to do more, be more. I don’t know if Tiger Beat still exists or not. I guess these days my students would be more apt to be checking out TMZ or Facebook on their iPhones than reading a magazine about Hollywood. But I do know I have kids just like me sitting in my class, kids with big dreams, and it’s my job to make sure they continue striving for those dreams.
Kudos to the kids who competed at the UIL practice meet today. Every one of them placed. We took 1st and 2nd in news, 1st in feature, 1st in Editorial and 1st and 4th in headlines. Woo hoo!