This is a sad post. I have a student that we will call Liza. She started out the year with a little bit of rockiness--trying to find herself, dealing with moving to a new area, and deciding what groups she would identify with. We had authority struggles while she was still a loner, and then I saw that she befriended a semi-goth but very bright girl and I thought she would do just fine. A couple months into the year, a girl named Rachelle moved into our school and was clearly not a good girl. She constantly skipped class, didn't do her work, and had an awful mouth. Then, with about two months left in the year, Liza started hanging out with Rachelle. It was amazing to see how fast her grades dropped in all her classes. Her attitude was a complete 180 degree change. She swore constantly. She stopped wearing her pajamas to class and started wearing the same style as Rachelle. It was really interesting to see how she went from being relatively good to sliding down this slippery slope to be like Rachelle. It is so tragic that Rachelle had SO much influence on Liza. I knew Rachelle was bad news as soon as I met her. I wish I knew how to teach my students to choose friends that will help them grow into better people, not denigrate them into followers of filth.


    This is always a really hard thing to see as a teacher. I remember my first year teaching I would go home almost every night crying because of my students' personal problems. In the end we have to remember that we should do the best we can to mold them into responsible, respectful individuals, but when it comes down to it, this is just our job. Honestly, it's what we do to pay our bills. That doesn't mean I still don't get upset when I see them make bad decisions, but it helps me keep things in perspective.