Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beyond the Blind Side

Beyond the Blind Side

At 6-foot, 4 inches and well over 300 pounds, my former cherub ranked as one of the top offensive linemen in the state. We knew him as The Intimidator on the field, and the Teddy Bear in the classroom.

Unlike some of his high school football brethren, he was interested in learning. He made good grades and joined the Yearbook staff. He worked as hard on his studies as he did on the girdiron.

When top universities recruited him, we knew he'd go far. But he wasn't really interested in the NFL. He wanted to return home and teach.

His field of dreams is now in a special ed classroom in Northern Virginia. He stopped by Room 215 the other day to get some tips. On decorating.

He works with students who have challenging needs. Some have Down Syndrome, others are autistic. He says a bright classroom environment invigorates his charges.

A classroom full of plants, he says, will help his students keep their focus.

I'm busy cutting and rooting and potting right now. He planted a seed, and I'm helping it grow.


Tara R. said...

It must be such a thrill for former students to come back to check in with you. To see them succeeding and giving back like this... good for him and good for you!

Jeanie said...

A wonderful story, Scribe, and your admiration for this young man comes through full and well. Doc has a daughter with Downs Syndrome, so I especially appreciate what he is doing.

teachj said...

It is wonderful when one of your own goes on to follow you, emulate you. You planted that seed and watered it. He watched you every day and now he will go on to plant seeds of his own. If only the people who decide how much teachers get paid could see how much of a difference you've made and every teacher makes every day.

And what a smart, young man to use the system for HIS advantage. Good for him on passing up on the NFL and not letting them use his body to make mega-millions. (And I'm a Patriots fan!) He took their money and got an education. I wish him the brightest classroom, filled with green and growing things and filled with the eyes of sprouts ever on their young, energetic teacher. What a ride he has in front of him.

Almost makes me want to be a first year teacher all over again. Almost. Thanks for sharing, it makes it a little easier to face the rest of this year and all the evil in Austin and D.C.

Tracy P. said...

Love, LOVE this!! Nothing better than inspiring someone who turns right around and inspires you more. Fabulous story. So glad for you!

blueviolet said...

Doesn't that make it all so worthwhile? I love this!

dkzody said...

That's the kind of football story I like to hear.

Magister Neveu said...

Truly an inspiration. Love the detail about having a classroom full of plants, which is something I'd like to do in my own classroom someday (perhaps when my own green thumb is further cultivated). The soothing effect of plant life is doubtlessly just as effective in a mainstream classroom environment.

Erin Holton said...

What an inspiring story! I'm sure there is little more rewarding as an educator than being a motivating factor for your students and then being able to see them reach there goals. You must have had a significant impact on him for him to follow down the path of teaching. I hope this was a "feel good" moment for you!

400 Wakeups said...

I can't help but think it's a comment on you as a teacher that someone you taught wants to forgo the millions of promised dollars in the NFL to come back and teach. And teach challenged kids at that. If you don't feel all warm and fuzzy inside, you should. Makes it all worth it, doesn't it?

miss jo said...

Another thoughtful teacher, taught by a thoughtful teacher. This guy has his head screwed on straight.....Lovely post.


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