It was a few months ago now that I had my laptop stolen from school. As you can imagine, I was gutted (for three reasons). Firstly, I felt floored that students would even think of doing that to anyone; it felt hard to reason that they actually didn’t have a clue how much it hurt. The next two reasons are about why it hurt really; because of the value; money and work that had gone into it. I won’t pretend to be all super-holy and say it wasn’t just about it the money. The actual monetary value of the laptop was £939, and it was a mere four months old. I’d saved up and bought it; I had to- I don’t have a spare grand lying around! The second thing that really stung was all the things that I’d worked on and personal photographs that I’ll never see again. It felt like the rug had been pulled from under me just as easily as it had been laid down. It’s meant that things over the last few months have been difficult logistically and financially, but it’s still been a time of learning.
On hearing the news, several students offered to ‘step in’ as they thought they knew who had taken it, which was kind (and on a no-harm promise!). Their compassion really touched me as I suppose, in a school climate, the easiest things is to stay quiet and know nothing. It’s one boy in my year 12 twelve class that I want to tell you about though.
He was one who offered to talk to the suspected students and see if we could get the laptop back. It was futile (as I’m typing this on my iPad) but it left me with a sense of how loyal this student is. He’s a well-mannered guy who works hard although he doesn’t seem to be pulling the grades out of the bag. He’s had a reputation; I sense an element of surprise at him taking AS Literature, however, I’ve turned a blind eye to this as I do like to give students a second chance- he deserves a first chance with me, surely? It’s been hard work to get him motivated and inspired and there’s been talk of him dropping he subject which he has resisted, against the judgement of some. Then, last week, we started talking about really LOVING literature and students asked me for my personal recommended-reads list. I waxed-lyrical about the best plots, descriptions, characters, writing and students furiously wrote these down, weighing up just how little time they’ve managed to devote to actually read for themselves. Quite sad for literature students, I think you’ll agree.
A couple of says ago, the student mentioned above came running into my room (he’s normally a slow-but-sassy traveller by foot), threw his bags down and said there was something he’s gotta show me. He explained he’d been reading ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho and is loving it. He the said he wasn’t just loving it, but actually LOVING it, falling into an explanation of his response: “Do you get me? It’s actually changing my thinking, it’s deep! I’m loving it!”. He showed me a photo of a quote from the book on his phone which said this:
“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
Need I say anymore? Probably not, but I’m going to. I LOVE this. I LOVE it. How apt, how fitting for his story. His eyes lit up, he was so energised and enthused he could barely keep still. This is a very different picture from the lad who sat sucking-up hard truths about his borderline performance a few nights before. I think I’ve got a changed student on my hands, and I’ve got a sneaky feeling this isn’t just going to affect his grades in English. I love that literature comes alive and has the power to change. I love that through his learning he has taught me a little more about loyalty and perseverance.
THIS, right here, is the very heart of Double Me. We need people to inspire, encourage and enthuse us; to put the right books in our hands, to talk it through with us. We need people who are going to realise and release potential. And we need to be that for others too, so you can be your best you!