You Just Might Find You Get What You Need

Jose Vilson Jose

No, I can’t let you go.

Since the beginning of the year, I knew you had lots of potential. Yes, we had a rocky start. You are the jovial joker, who has little to no restraint with his wants and desires. Your mom supports you, and you seem to bring a smile to her face even when she’s done. Yet, she hasn’t taught you restraint, especially in academic settings. You come into my classroom calmly usually, but by lunchtime, you lose your senses. I try to keep you away from your other friends, but you keep bargaining to try and get something you want.

OK, but you can’t always get what you want. Back in January when I finally moved you to a more productive situation, you performed at your best. Your test scores were higher, you showed a lot more leadership potential, and you made the most out of the opportunities you had. Nowadays, you’ve squandered that in favor of living a life without consequences, hopelessly meandering through the hallways, your name ringing the ears of little girls interested in your favor. You’re a superstar in your own right, even with your short height.

Nonetheless, you must face consequences. You must show up for every class, even the classes you don’t deem important. It’s not enough to just do the bare minimum during the academic times, but every time. Running away from your responsibilities will be your undoing. Yes, there are circumstances around the both of us that don’t always hold you accountable, but that’s not me.

I care for you, and that’s why you’re not going on the trip tomorrow. Other teachers may protect you at their leisure. They may argue that you need the attention, and that you’ve deserved it academically, and to an extent they’re right. Yet, something makes my head itch at the thought that I’d let a repeat cutter attend a trip with students who truly deserve it. And of course, we know it’s not just you. The crew you hang out with influences your decisions to miss out on my afternoon announcements, my calls to you for better behavior and respect for all teachers, not just the ones you feel like respecting.

The incident that was most telling of all, young man, was last week after I spoke to you in the morning about the importance of the aforementioned classes. You nodded while everyone looked on, noting how I checked you on your lack of responsibility. You responded positively, avoiding possible detention with me that afternoon. The next day, you assumed the same position, understanding the seriousness of your trip status. But we missed you that afternoon. You left with no trace, and no student could identify where you went. Neither the last teacher nor I could detect your whereabouts. A vagabond if we think of my room as home.

We waited there with your permission slip in hand. I imagined your name on it, but no person to collect it. You must face the consequences even when others won’t hold you accountable. You will not go until that changes. If you’re still bitter about it 10 years from now, I’ll give you the directions to the place we were going, but if your person 10 years from now appreciates it, then your present anger is well worth it.

I’m angry, too. I wanted to take you. You can’t always get what you want, but I’ll definitely give you what you need …

jose, who has four trips in the next month at least …