This was originally posted on Alex Winninghoff’s Facebook profile. She has graciously allowed me to turn it into a guest post. At the time it was written, she was working with high-risk populations at a high school near Seattle. Yet another example of the amazing effect that a dedicated teacher can have on her students.
- A student gave her dad her straight-A progress report and pointed out that she is ranked number one in her class. He put his hand on his chest, started to cry, and said something in Spanish that I couldn’t understand, but it made the student and her siblings hug him and burst into tears.
- A transgender boy, who is failing everything and struggling with peers’ reaction to his gender identity, told us he planned on dropping out. He has an amazingly supportive mom and some kick-ass educators who are willing to bend over backward for him. By the end of the meeting, he agreed to stick around for another few months and try plan B.
- A very cute little boy in second grade told his older sister, my student, that he is really proud of her for working hard to get an A. She blushed like she had been praised by a parent.
- One boy, who had not seen his parents in two weeks, came in alone. Their family had been evicted and separated, and he was living with a neighbor. He apologized for not having any school work and told me he couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t motivated lately. We talked about resources and a plan forward for a while, and then he stuck around for an hour more and showed me his drawings. He asked if we could look at them together and try to interpret their meaning.
- A student shared a heavy poem from class with her very tough-acting dad. He listened seriously and then confessed that he has been writing poetry, too. He had a collection he had been working on for ten years, and she hadn’t known about it until this evening. They both held hands and cracked up about his secret poetry.
Alex Winninghoff holds Masters in Teaching from Seattle University. She is a secondary English Language Arts educator, an Equal Opportunity Grant Advanced Placement Coordinator, and a district advisor and trainer for LGBT students safety policy in Federal Way, WA. Alex is also a writer whose work focuses primarily on social justice and advocacy work. She lives in Seattle, WA.