Lauren Rossi, a new teacher at AF Hartford Academy Elementary, sent us a blog post about one of her former scholarsCategory: Home
Lauren Rossi, a new teacher at AF Hartford Academy Elementary, sent us a blog post about one of her former scholars, Dustin, and his journey to Achievement First.
His name is Dustin. We have all had our own Dustin and none of us will ever forget them. To be honest, when I set out to write this first entry, a million ideas flew through my head: the beginning of a new school year, moving to a new school, moving to a new grade, and working too many hours. But then, I spoke with Dustin.
It is important here to set up some background. I Lauren Rossi am a 3rd year teacher. For my two years in the corps I taught 4th grade at public school in Hartford. I cried a lot, slept very little, and yet somehow still fell in love with teaching. I now teach 3rd grade at Achievement First Elementary Hartford Academy. Ironically the story of Dustin follows a similar progression to that of my very short teaching career. It was the winter of my first year when Dustin joined my class. He was a shy, nervous, and very angry 9 year old. There were times during the day when he would get so upset about having to complete an assignment that he would flip over his desk, grab scissors or merely just crawl on to the floor and cry. During those first few months, I would cry about everything, but mostly I would cry for Dustin and the other students like him who were carrying the baggage no human should have to endure.
Well, the year rolled on and Dustin slowly became less angry, he began to confide in me and trust me to take care of him. His outbursts did not completely stop but he began to smile more often and he even started to make some friends. We found out at the end of the year that Dustin had been accepted to Achievement First Hartford Middle School. The year ended, and that was pretty much the last I heard from Dustin. His home life was so unstable, I actually wasn't even sure he had ended up going to AF Middle.
Yesterday, that all changed. While attending a picnic for families of AF elementary and middle school scholars, I ran into Dustin completely by accident. Another scholar said she had been talking to him in class and said that he was actually at the picnic. At that very instant, my eyes welled up as Dustin strolled over to me (now able to look me in the eye as he is my height) and said, "Hi Ms. Rossi! Katie said you were working at AF now." To be honest, I held off tears our entire conversation as we discussed his classes, how he is preparing for college in only 6th grade, and also the fact that he is currently sporting straight A's. A child who when I first met him, would not even hold a one sentence conversation was now talking to me like an adult.
As I got into the car after the picnic, still fighting off tears, it hit me: with the dedication and love of a few committed and determined individuals, this child, Dustin, who sadly I feel was bound to drop out or end up on the streets was now going to go to college. I know he will go to college because effective teachers changed his life. Dustin is only one, but we have the power to change the lives of many. For lack of a better phrase, “Life just doesn’t get any sweeter.”
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