My friend Kerry related a story to me about something painful she learned when dealing with students. It isn’t easy doing this job as educators and we make many mistakes. Well, let’s face it. I make lots of mistakes. There have been times when I’ve said something to a student and instantly regretted it. There have been other times when I’ve said something and didn’t think anything of it until much later.

I have always preferred instant regret.

Kerry had a difficult student who had gotten into trouble many times before. She had a rap sheet quite long and had previously irritated many adults before. This girl came with a reputation and lived up to it. It seems that many people, in dealing with her, warned her about where she was headed. It’s what we do. We try, sometimes to no avail, to let students know what’s in store for them if they don’t straighten up and fly right. It’s a bad, bad habit and can go awry.

When Kerry was at her wit’s end she said, “You know, if you keep acting this way you’re going to end up at the alternative school!”

My friend didn’t expect the reply she got.

“I know how to get there. Everyone has always told me how to get there! What I want to know if how to get to that college I’ve seen on the tv. Can you tell me what I need to do to get there?”

Damn. Those lessons we learn as the adults in schools are sometimes really hard to learn.