Thursday, October 13, 2011


Dear Friends,

Sometimes you come home from the shop after spending $500 to keep your car running and your computer doesn't work. Sometimes you're trying to leave for a friend's wedding and there's an electrical fire in your house and you don't have power for a week. Sometimes a student looks at you first period and says, "I hate you and I hate your first period," and the person next to them says, "Yeah, me too." Sometimes all these things happen in the same month.

My last post was vague, intellectual and serious; three things white men have gravitated toward in place for emotion for centuries. In my growing up the last year I have not only become wiser, but more introspective. For example I know now that there are a number of careers I will never have: professional athlete, thespian, astronaut, physicist or President. Though that still leaves many options open, I feel that if each decade of your life had a title your 20s might be Disappointment Curbed By Alcohol or The Rest of Your Life.

All of this is to say sometimes you get down a little bit. There are successes though. I have all my desks. The school gave me a laptop a few weeks back - hence my ability to write this. My third period loves to read. One student wrote me two pages about Jay Z's Decoded and told me about his upbringing. I wrote him a letter back detailing events in my own life that mirrored his. This student is a "full-time job" for many teachers. After reading my letter he sat and worked hard the rest of the class period.

Today in the same third period I busted out some poems about Hip Hop and its creation of a way of life. One student who often sleeps worked to the bone. When the office called to say that his mother was there to take out him out of school early he wrote for one more minute and then looked at me as if leaving school were the greatest tragedy of his life. Moments like these overshadow the other more difficult periods of the day that are all too easy to linger on.

Tomorrow marks Homecoming, and more importantly, the end of Homecoming week at AEHS. I'm starting The Crucible next week and I pray that we can start picking up some momentum.

I'll write again soon,

Mr. Stevens


  1. Mr.Stevens, I want to be in your class! That's great that students have desks now. It's about time! Keep your chin up.

  2. It sounds like you are doing a kickass job. This post reminds me of 99% of my first 3 years of teaching, and makes me nostalgic even though being a new teacher is probably the hardest thing in the world. Teaching part time in Spain instead of full time in Detroit has its own difficulties, but in a lot of ways it feels like a vacation - and reading things like this makes me want to come back and be exhausted and burned out and useful again. Keep up the good work, and keep telling us about it.

  3. You're in Spain! That is so awesome. I forgot that that was your next stop. You earned that "vacation". The kids will be there when you're ready for them - unless the education crisis is solved when you're gone -doubtful.

    So good to hear from you and thanks for the encouragement. It is one of the hardest things in the world, but there are moments of grace (and agony).

    I hope to see you in the summer? The Corner Brewery has been out of my life for too long.