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Potential, persistance, and a great person

June 17, 2015

Seeing potential can be a gift and a curse, especially for instructors. It is a gift because you can see deeper into the individual before you. You can see despite his or her inner critic, without a shadow of a doubt, if s/he simply leaps over that victim hurdle, s/he will do wonderful things and make a positive impact on our community. It is a curse when no matter how hard you try the inner critic takes over, drying the once malleable clay before you, preventing any chance to achieve potential.

To prevent students from throwing away potential I often ask them to come by and see me. With one on one attention I can get real reflection and answers to questions such as, “How are you separating yourself from the pack?” and “What behaviors do you repeat that will make you different, employable, and motivated to continue despite frustration?” Today, I’m proud to tell you a story of one student who did just that.

Sitting before me in his first year an eager, yet frustrated student looked at me with determination. At times, I could see distractions creeping in, dwindling motivation, fear and frustration, the desire to change direction when things were difficult. However, I could also see potential, and with a little encouragement I could see him focusing, caring about his spelling, caring about working hard, caring about his work ethic. Learning does not come easily for everyone and at times he described how difficult writing was, but with persistence and a reminder of his potential this student excelled.

Outside of class, I learned much more about this student. I learned he knew how to reach out to all of his instructors for help and guidance. I learned of many tainted experiences he had in high school as well as his desire to work, make money, and provide for himself. What I learned outside of class truly helped me inside of class. I enjoyed our talks and then like a flash he would swiftly move on to his next task with a bright smile and a quip. My favorite was “Happy Monday.”

This student, this wonderful person, is a pleasure to know. He graduated with honors, has an associate’s degree, and works for the college. Everyone in our community receives his gift each day as he spreads happiness and gratitude for a college that believed in him.

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