Thursday, April 05, 2012


Although I never pursued the matter of the naughty video that gave Rob such anxiety (see previous post), I have a feeling I know who did it. Chad.

It was a grade ten class (or the tenth grade as they say down south, a form which always causes me to imagine the voice of James Earl Jones), mostly constituted with boys. Although teenage males can be (ahem — pun warning) boysterous, it was a pretty good class. It was a group that could easily have gotten out of hand, but somehow, we found a way to co-exist, and it actually turned out to be quite a good class.

However,  mainly because of Chad, the class certainly had the potential to have gone off the tracks. He was a bad boy, not tough guy bad, but mischievously bad in quite a bold and audacious way. He'd do his best to get both me and the class going, but somehow, I would always manage to reign him in without too much fuss or muss. The class would laugh at or with him, but they would get back on task pretty easily.

It wasn't that way for Chad in all of his classes I'm sorry to say, for in that very same semester one teacher hightailed it home to lick his wounds, and he never came back. Another teacher told me that it was Chad who had done said teacher in. He was doubtless a contributing factor at the very least.

I recall one time taking Chad out into the hall to give him the benefit of my teacherly wisdom. I tired of Chad goading and arguing with another student, a good guy who had a bit of a peculiar speech mannerism, which I hesitate to call an impediment. I don't know if it was a learned pattern or if this boy just couldn't say some words quite like the rest of us, but Chad would pester John and then mimic John's voice during the ensuing give and take. That day when I took Chad into the hall, I didn't yell or carry on but simply informed him that it was not appropriate to make fun of people for things they couldn't help or change.Chad just took it my words without comment but he never teased the other boy that way again — at least not in my presence.

At the end of that year, Chad stopped me in the hall one day and told me how much he enjoyed being in my class. When I looked at him rather skeptically, he insisted that he was serious. Such a step is highly unusual for high school students, and the fact that he made the effort in all apparent sincerity caused me to believe him.

A year or so later, I was teaching in a different school when I learned that Chad had been killed in a car accident. I felt badly but oddly good at the same time because, somehow, Chad and I had found a way to respect each other.


Hilary said...

It's always sad to hear of a life cut short. It does sound like Chad and you managed to come to respect one another. That's got to be very rewarding as a teacher.

Donna said...

Oh terribly sad...The "what ifs", abound. You were probably one of the few who HE respected...

Kila said...

A beautiful story. What a blessing you were to each other.

Jimmie Earl said...

My theory was that if I could "reach" one student a year, then my year was a success. Every year I had a "Chad" it seems. I couldn't always reach him (sometimes it was a her) but I tried.
Hats off to you for reaching Chad. He needed you the most right when you were there.
To lose someone so young is so hard. I had a student take his own life after HS. That was a hard one to take.
Thanks for being there for Chad!

A Reader's Life said...

Enjoyed your blog.
When I rode the Transit bus, one driver always played his Sarah Brightman tapes if he and I were alone. If there were other passengers, he would play country music. Glad to meet a fellow fan.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

An unfortunate ending to a young life.

Pearl said...

it was for the good the word with him then. saved the boy from years of chain-yanking. pity some lives are so short.