Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Friends, The Feisty Ones

I've been tutoring high schoolers in the District for the past few months, and I'm having a frickin' blast. 3:30pm rolls around and I've got a clan of students, all smiles and jokes, gathering at my table, pulling out their homework, slipping in sly remarks like, "Where your pigtails at, Miss Rachael?" Or "Did you miss me, Miss Rachael? I know it must be hard those other 22 hours of the day you not with me, Miss Rachael."  I smile and tell them, "It's true. You're the highlight of my day." And I'm not lying when I say it.

Where I work, students can receive after school tutoring in a number of places: their teacher's classroom, study hall, or detention.

I prefer detention.

Why? Because that's where the feisty students are. And I love feisty. 

1. full of animation, energy, or courage; spirited; spunky; plucky.
2. ill-tempered; pugnacious.
3. troublesome; difficult.
To me, feisty reads powerful. For better or for worse. Here... let me paint it out...

Feisty + Confusion = A number of Tragic Situations (Bullying, Fear, Disrespect, Attention-Craving)


Feisty + Self-Development = A Chain of Hallelujahs! (Integrity, Vision, Passion, Confidence)

I think we can all agree that when you're working with feisty, self-development is especially essential. Likely even more than academic development because of the need for deeper focus and heart-felt intention to inform priorities and passions--to point that feisty power in the direction of love and more love.

I must admit, I love my feisty friends because I can relate to them (call me Miss Feisty Rachael). Every day I feel like I am on a self-developmental path right along side my students, and I do my best to let them know it, to show them the ways we're not so different after all.

I come clean to them about my fears every day. And every time I let them in on one of mine--"I'm terrified about riding my bike across country."--they let me in on one of theirs--"I'm afraid I'll always suck at reading."

We move on quickly passed our fears. We get into the assignment at hand. We take our time with it, reading each word slowly, sounding things out little by little, piecing sentences together until they finally make sense.

They ask me, "Where's your bike today?" I tell them, "I wasn't feeling brave enough." They tell me, "That's okay. Tomorrow's another day." I tell them, "For us both. Thank god!"

Together, as if we were long-time friends, we check in on each other's hearts, each other's progress, with laughs and jokes a-plenty. With vulnerability, and all. It's sweet, to say the least. And I'm beyond grateful for the lightness and connection that follows coming clean together.


I'm thinking about my young friends today, curious about what questions might continue to offer a path toward lightness, integrity, and confidence. I've got a handful jotted down, but I'd like to know from you, what questions you wish someone had asked you in high school? The comments are open for your hindsight & wisdom. And I'm thankful in advance.


Family of Movers said...

I was a good kid in high school but I am a chronically late to class so I would get detentions. It's cool to be older and on the other side of things now.

Shenee said...

This is so great! I love your point of view and outlook, really great insights : )

Cameron said...

This is really, really great, Rachael. I'm so glad you're there for these kids. :)

HeatherV said...

Curious if you have seen "Waiting for Superman"

I'm a HS econ teacher by trade. "Waiting" was powerful to think about what each of us can do to advance and support our local schools.

On my mondo list I included,

"Fight for Education reform because it’s immoral to let anyone’s children settle for a lifetime of missed opportunity"

YOU are already living this dream. Keep going. You are planting seeds of courage, honesty, and personal achievement.

Shannon said...

Great stuff. Look forward to following you!