Why Do You Do That?

Today was our first day back from Spring Break.  I arrived to school a bit early because we are also doing our state testing this week.  I wanted to make sure I was in place so things would run smoothly, and they did, which is a point of celebration.  I have to celebrate the other assistant principal in the building, Mrs. Naja Douglas, because she learns quickly and makes the work that much easier.  I appreciate the work that she does along with the testing team.  Kudos to all of you!

This morning, one of the students came into the cafeteria and shook my hand.  He said, “Good morning, sir!”  It’s a joke that we have because he’s a Young Gent, and he thinks its hilarious that there’s a formal way to greet someone and an informal way to greet others.  Earlier this year, he said, “So, it’s like you have to fake it and be all proper with the formal way, and then the other way is like you’re all cool with the person so you can be like, ‘What’s good bro?”  My response was…um…I guess that’s accurate.  It made me laugh more than anything because of the way he connected the thought to something else.  But anyway, this morning he came to school and he’d changed his appearance a bit.  He had a conversation with me and one of his teachers because he’d experienced some difficulties at home over the break.  In that moment, we were able to teach him some life lessons and the importance of respecting adults, even when a sense of agreement is inexistent.  After speaking with us, I think he was able to see the point that his parents were trying to make, so my day was already complete because we’d touched and changed a life in five minutes’ time.

As breakfast continued, the students came in from the bus yard, and I continued to tell all of them good morning, with a ratio of about 1:20 replying to me.  The student I was speaking with earlier was sitting a the table beside me and said, “Dr. Gardner, why do you do that?  Like, don’t you get tired of saying, ‘Good morning,’ and then they just keep on walking like they don’t have any manners?”  I replied by telling him that some students never hear their parents tell them good morning, so the least I can do is be the person they hear it from.  I told him how some students have terrible nights, and they don’t feel like speaking to anyone in the morning.  But despite all they go through, I have to make sure I set the bar for them because one day, they may be the people standing somewhere greeting others who are in the same situation.  Right then, I told a group of students good morning, and two young men said, “Good morning, Dr. G.”  I looked at the student and said, “See…”  He laughed, and said, “You must’ve set that up.”  We had a good laugh about it, but in the end, he said, “I gotcha, Dr. G.”

As educators, we have to find the moments that make a difference in our own lives.  The kids we serve impact us just as much as we impact them.  The downside to all of it is that some educators have great days, but one turn of events can impact the entire level of positivity they carry.  We aren’t in a position to carry ourselves in that manner.  We have to operate in a “glass half full” mode where we are optimistic and excited about this work.  I’ve said it before; we have the opportunity to change lives.  Not all of those lives will change at once, but even if we have to change those lives one at a time, we have to be up for the challenge.

Good night to all of you.

Be great.  Be accountable.

Dr. G.

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