Josh took my Introduction to Business class last summer semester. He was 28 years old and this was his very first college class. This is a challenging course, as we take 16 weeks’ worth of material and jam it into 8 weeks.
Josh was a recovering drug addict. He decided during his 6 months in jail for selling drugs, that he didn’t want to continue living that lifestyle. When he finished his sentence, he went through rehab, and three months later he was sitting in my classroom. The classroom experience was overwhelming at first. His language was one best saved for the streets. Every other word was f@ck. Since no other students complained about his language, I let him continue. He was acclimating and I didn’t want him to think I was judging him. And that worked well. He was very open with everyone where he was in his recovery and they all supported him.
I connected Josh immediately with tutoring services and the Writing Center. They were fantastic with him as he learned to study and write college level papers. He continued to use their services the entire semester. I have assigned dates for all homework, but I did accept late papers from him at first since he was learning the system. As time went on, he gained confidence in his ability and he turned papers in on time. I will do this for all students who are struggling, but are showing an effort to try to improve.
We had class discussion every class. As time went on, Josh stopped using curse words as much and started talking in a more professional manner like his classmates. We also discuss life skills and professionalism in that class. Towards the end, Josh stated that his supervisors at work noticed a tremendous difference in how he related to his coworkers. Apparently, before he was more confrontational, but as his knowledge of business grew, his attitude towards those around him evolved as well. He was receiving a promotion by the end of the semester. He has also been hired for a second job working with other recovering addicts that required a great deal of responsibility. His confidence was growing stronger.
Josh was so happy to earn a 2.5 in that class. He worked very hard to get there. He also sent me a beautiful email after class ended thanking me for all the encouragement and never giving up on him. He stated what a huge impact it made in his life and that he will never forget how I helped him through.
This is why I love teaching. One day, one student at a time.