Beyond Instruction: Caring
(Submitted by Community Educational Outreach Program Director – Lexi Dozier – Program Director – Greeley)
CEO: I was sitting in the classroom the other day listening to one of my students, Bill, tell a very long and energetic story about being able to have visits with his children for the first time in a long time. When I found a small pause in the conversation I said, “I’m so glad you get to see your kids now! That’s great! But since you’re in class, we need to get back to work.” This is what followed:
Bill: Oh yeah, I forgot that none of you staff here care about us and our lives.
Tom (another student): Hey! Lexi cares. She cares about us and our lives. Seriously.
Bill: Yeah right…
Tom: No, seriously. She’s one of the only people around here who actually cares what happens to us.
In many cases, being “in the system” means CEO students don’t feel like staff members see them as an individual. Being a positive support in a sea of negative is what CEO is about.
It’s not just about teaching math and helping students find jobs; it’s about caring enough to remember to ask about a student’s recent surgery and how the recovery is going or help them prepare for a meeting with a supervisor to discuss a promotion.
I care about my students and their lives, and I do what I do because I believe in their abilities to succeed despite past failures. I will never forget what it felt like to hear one of my own students recognize my efforts to make him feel like he was worth caring about.