I had four Students As Mentors this year.
The SAM program is basically a way for kids to earn tutoring hours as part of their schedule.
In the past, I've had one or two kiddos in this position.
This year I had FOUR.
It was awesome.
I knew about one ahead of time.
Her freshman year, I made her promise to SAM for me.
She was a superstar from day one.
I moved her to Advanced English for Sophomore year.
We've stayed in touch and revisited that promise regularly.
When I found out she was going to keep her promise I was thrilled.
And she was every bit as awesome as I knew she would be.
Yesterday she turned in her final reflection.
It was incredibly kind and flattering.
Our experience together has been solid.
Her class was my fourth hour.
That was my toughest group this year-loud, off-task, sometimes rude, and also quite loveable.
I appreciated her help and I believe she learned a great deal about herself.
The second student was a kid who I've always really liked.
She is incredibly respectful, has a killer work ethic, and is incredibly mature.
When she asked me if I needed her, I didn't hesitate.
I am always flattered.
After all, what Senior cherishes their first-year teachers?
That appreciation, if it comes, usually comes much later.
She, too, has been everything I could hope for in a student tutor.
She, too, has learned from the experience.
Though she worked with a very strong class, she had a couple special challenges.
My fifth hour is kind, gentle, and unfathomably immature.
Her special task was a pair of boys.
Both are immature, weak readers, and strong avoiders.
Neither ever wants to admit they might have a question or need help.
Result: special assignment SAM.
Every day, her task was to sit on them. Help them, redirect them, redirect them some more, etc.
At the start of the semester, I requested that all the new ELL students be assigned to me.
There were about 10 coming from our International Welcome Center.
It seemed like a better idea to keep those babies together.
As a result, I also made a request to the counseling office.
I asked for more SAMs, especially if they were bilingual.
In my first hour, I got a sweet, quiet, bilingual girl.
She was very helpful, though she not particularly good at starting conversations.
The only people in the room shier than her: the two Spanish speakers she worked with.
It worked, but it wasn't without struggle.
In her reflection, she candidly admitted her weaknesses.
Her self-awareness is very impressive.
Though she might not recognize it, she set an excellent example of success for those two babies.
I want them to become her.
Graduating Seniors with college plans and strong bilingual literacy.
There is a fourth, but I am saving her for another post.
Her story is special.
She has taught me things I didn't know I didn't know.
As much as I love teaching 9th grade, I always really enjoy working with baby teachers.
These guys might not really be baby teachers, at least not yet, but I feel the same way about them.
Getting to mentor mentors is a good thing.
It is a special privilege and it is worth the occasional headache.