It’s too hard to wake up happy every day, but most days I can manage it. Last week I mentioned that a former student passed away, but I haven’t elaborated on the details. They’re not that important anyway. I have too many stories in my fairly short career in education of students who have died and many, many more of students I feel slip through my fingers every day.

Like Marcellus who can’t get it together and has spent all of seven days in school this year, but even after an incarceration and three suspensions continues to show up. Of course, he cusses out everyone and calls people names he still came into my office after I intervened between him and a teacher and hugged me. “Goodnight. See you tomorrow.” he said. He is, by all societal stereotypical standards, a thug. But he reached out.

Like Hank who can’t seem to stop being sent to the in-house detention and whom I feel small snacks to during the day. A manchild who cried when things got too rough in gym class one day. He calls me J-Lo because once when we went for a walk around the building so he could get rid of some energy he noticed the label in my coat. His demands are maddening and when he has a bad day I can physically feel myself getting tired.

Like Amy who can’t quit fighting with other girls or getting sassy with her teachers and is ruining her chance to be a state track star. She was born to run and has the body of a seasoned, trained sprinter. Her attitude is getting in the way and she can easily blow her shot at a major title, but nothing I say seems to get through to her.

I supposed that making a difference takes time. It’s not about a one-shot deal where the magic words or pills can do the trick right away. It’s unreasonable to assume that those small things we do for people don’t have an impact yet neither can we expect to see results in a turn around time frame that suits us.

Are we saving mankind and wanting to give up simultaneously?

Would we work as hard as we are to make a significant change in another person’s life if we could see into the future and see that what we did didn’t help at all?

How do we make it all better?

Tell me. How do you?

Even though I know it’s worth it, it can be frightening and immense and making a difference makes me long for tomorrow when I can check to see that something small made a dent.