Thursday, February 26, 2009

Out On A Limb


Sometimes you're the hawk, above it all and feeling pretty darn apexpredatory. Everybody beware!


Sometimes you're the turtle, barely hanging on and thinking maybe it would be easier to just give up and slide back into the water.



If you've been coming to Pure Florida for awhile, you know I was mentoring a young guy, who we shall call "Frank". I wrote about Frank most recently here, and earlier here.


I was trying to be a positive influence on a young life that was at a crossroads. I suppose everyday is a crossroads for all of us, but I think you know what I mean.
I like to think teachers do that in general with all kids, being a positive influence I mean, but I was taking a little extra time to guide and encourage Frank.

A few days ago, an officer of the law showed up at my classroom door and asked for Frank.
"Tell him to bring his stuff", she said.

That was the last I've seen of Frank, and today I got the withdrawal notice in my mailbox, so he no longer goes to school here. He will be going to school in a different county.
On the form, there's a place for the teacher to place his grade at the time of withdrawal. When I look his up on the computer, it is an 89 ... one point from an A.

With a quick stroke of my pen I round it up to 90, an A, on the withdrawal form.

It's the last positive thing I can do for him.

34 comments:

threecollie said...

You are a good man. That is all there is to it.

Sandcastle Momma said...

No matter where his life takes him Frank will always have your words and encouragement in his heart. You did right by him FC and one day that will help him more than you know. He'll be in my prayers.

Dani said...

Yes, you are indeed a good man.

Florida Beach Basics said...

darn it. hope he makes it.

Ark Patti said...

Aww Gee. I really hoped that boy would make it. I know you did your best and he was improving. Wonder what went wrong. Probably the formative years before he got any positive experinces. If you hear more, let us know.

Jen said...

Ah, I still have hope you were able to save him. Years from now he'll come back and thank you. At least he knows one person in the world cared about him. You are, indeed, a good man.

Susan Rose said...

You planted a seed of love in Frank's life, and I feel sure it will grow into something special. I'll be praying for him. With God, all things are possible, and in Frank's case, I feel quite PROBABLE. I think you'll see Frank again, and he will make you smile.

cndymkr / jean said...

Why? Why did they move him? Why? The poor kid needs to catch a break. You were there for him and hopefully he'll know that, and keep going forward. But I'll always wonder - why?

Miz S said...

Oh, FC. I hate it when the Franks disappear.

Chris said...

FC,
GREAT blog! I've been reading daily and passing the link around since TP reminded me of the address. Thoroughly enjoy your musings, photography, and videos. Give my regards to the family. It was great to see y'all at the wedding.

Chris Fooshee

Sayre said...

Poor Frank. That A may mean more to him than you'll ever know... Every now and then you hear stories of people who had rough childhoods who make good as adults. Invariably there was someone back there when things were going wrong who believed in them anyway. You're that guy. If Frank ever writes a memoir, you'll have your own chapter.

NativeMom said...

Heartbreaking. I don't know how teachers do it. . .

Anonymous said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I hope Frank thinks about your faith in him with whatever is going on right now. It might pull him through to the right track.

Patti

ChrisC and JonJ said...

You are a good man(insert clapping smiley here).Having a son who used to teach ESE students(but now teaches AP)I have a real appreciation for what you do.Thank you for caring enough about Frank.
May I ask,where the Hell have his parents been thru this mess?

Cathy S. said...

You've been gardening in much more than the soil. I will be praying that the seeds you planned take hold. I am so sorry, but then, maybe this is what it will take to get him and keep him on the right path.

robin andrea said...

One good teacher makes all the difference in the world. He's definitely going to remember you and for all the right reasons.

I received an email about a month ago from a student I haven't seen in almost seven years. He asked me to write a letter of recommendation for his admission to medical school. He said what I knew about him in his co-curricular activities was important. It added to the nuts and bolts of GPAs and academic evaluations. So I wrote a letter and sent them off to four medical schools. Just the other day the student called me absolutely skyrocketing with excitement. He had been admitted to one of the schools. He said, "It was your letter. I had been wait-listed. It was your letter." I can't imagine that's true, but it doesn't matter. What matters is we can have such positive impacts on students' lives.

Felicia said...

What a loss for both you and Frank! I hope that wherever he is, he continues to draw strength from your lessons and your faith in him. You did right by him.

Sharon said...

I'm so sorry to read that. I know the time you took for him will make a difference. :(

Robert V. Sobczak said...

You're too good FC! I have a feeling you'll be hearing more from Frank ... someday, as your paths cross along some future roads.

Thunder Dave said...

Bummer Dude!

Ericka said...

oh no! i'm sorry, for you and for frank.

very nice pictures!

Deb said...

You should get Teacher of the Year for that simple, gracious act. I sincerely hope it makes all the difference.

Anonymous said...

FC-

You get an A+ for all the good things you've done!

Lightnin

Floridacracker said...

Thank you for all the thoughtful comments. I'm not all that good or special though, almost every teacher in my hall has one or more "projects" they nurture beyond the normal lesson time. The teacher next to me makes it a point to mother the needy kids and they know they can get a hug, advice, or a stern lecture depending on their actions. She probably does more counseling than the guidance counselors. I'm just following her lead.
As for what happened...
I asked a few questions and it seems Frank apparently violated his parole which had automatic consequences.

Freste said...

Why does this make me think of, "Gran Torino"?

caroline said...

Rats!
Our "tool" of choice is peanut butter, jelly and a loaf of bread. Hungry kids can't learn, we have breakfasters, lunchers and after school snackers. 9th graders can put away a lot of PBJs.

SophieMae said...

You're a good man, Charlie Brown. Sure you are! So many people these days have the attitude that ALL teachers are candidates for sainthood by virtue of their career choice. But there are some really bad apples sitting behind those big desks. So yea, you ARE special! And I'll bet Frank would be first to agree.

Pablo said...

We were out to rural Colby, Kansas last weekend, and at one restaurant where we had lunch, a pair of adults came over to our table and introduced themselves, saying our son the high school teacher made a big difference in their son's life, urging him to go to college, which he did, and which is not a common thing in the little town. My boy was dismissive about the achievement, but those parents were not.
As the others said, maybe Frank has received the right influence at the right moment to make the long-term difference.

Did it MY way said...

God Bless you & Frank.
I was one of those wild kids a teacher saved.

  said...

Damn!

-lesle

Laura said...

Oh my. SO close!! This just made me pause and shake my head. I hope he comes back to see you some day. I wish he knew how many people were pulling for him.
You're a good man, "Mr. FC!"

Floridacracker said...

Thank you later commenters!
I think if good thoughts can help someone, Frank should be feeling the vibe.

Alan said...

Sorry to hear that about Frank. I'm sure we were all pulling for him. :(

On the positive side, I love the hawk photo - it really speaks.

countrypeapie said...

Hi there -- I've been exploring blogs via Edifice Rex. A good thing you did, helping Frank. And regarding your more recent post: dude, did you really drive a Gremlin?