Every year I find out what it's like to be a parent. You have those kids who so totally need direction either academically or just in the aspect of growning up. They need you to calm them down, show them confidence and just be there for them. Sometimes they need you to get mad at them and discipline them.
As they get to know you, the more they rely on it. They hate it, but they don't. If you're talk to them about bad behavior and grades, they start to understand that you care. They know that if you don't talk to them about it, you may have given up on them. These kids - the needy ones, are sometimes the ones I enjoy. Don't get me wrong, I like the ones that are independent as well, but the ones that test you...the ones that completely try your patience...these are the ones that come back to visit. These are the ones that want to show you how well they are doing now...that want you to be as proud of their accomplishments as they are.
Today I had one come visit me. He really struggled in middle school. He wanted to be popular and not goody. He wanted his independence from his family who were immigrants. When I had him in class he struggled...not just with the curriculum, but with himself and who he was. He didn't know. As his 8th grade year progressed, he started finding his way. He became more mature, he ignored those around him who still weren't focused, and became a leader in different groups. I was lucky enough to still be in the 8th grade hall as he progressed into high school. Every year that I saw him, he seemed more confident - more mature. He was making good decisions and even got a job. He began to help his parents out more and try to mentor his younger brother. When he came in today, he talked of what he wants to do in the future. He spoke of wanting to even go back to his freshman and start over with the knowledge he had now.
His young man impresses me. He reminds me that middle schoolers eventually become high schoolers, who eventually become adults. These kids grow up...they mature...they pull their head out of their hind quarters and look around. He reminds me that THAT student can become more.