Keeping My Faith in Humanity Alive

in steemiteducation •  6 months ago

If you judge the current state of affairs at high schools in the U.S. by what is reported on the internet, you may think the only things teenagers do is sue schools for their dress codes, take drugs and bully each other.

Unfortunately, as always, the thousands of wonderful things teens do every day never get a single mention.

Here comes one mention.

I am a high school teacher of students with special needs. I pride myself on creating a classroom environment that is open to all students. I design my lessons in a way that allows the flexibility required to meet the unique needs of a wide range of students. As a result, my classroom is a place for students with sever intellectual disabilities to experience the feeling of being in an academic setting.

But it is not easy.

Luckily I have a lot of help. I happen to work with the greatest teaching assistant in the history of time. However, sometimes it is still difficult for us to meet the needs of all of the students. But we do our best.

This year we have a very energetic, eager and funny student named Ronnie. He also happens to have a significant intellectual disability. Ronnie has difficulty reading and he is unable to write for himself. He displays some immature behavior and is obsessed with a toy soldier that he refers to as "his little friend". He sometimes gets very frustrated and has verbal outbursts when he is especially anxious.

These are not typically the behaviors that endear one to his fifteen year old peers. It would be quite understandable if students avoided sitting in front of Ronnie. After all, no one wants to hear shouting in their ear... even if it is rather infrequent.

But that seat in front of Ronnie has never been empty for a single day.

From the first day of class it has been occupied by a young man named Trevor. Not only does Trevor sit with Ronnie, when I put kids in groups, he volunteers to work with Ronnie. When Ronnie struggles to read, Trevor helps. When Ronnie has a difficult time starting his tablet so he can type instead of write, Trevor helps. When Ronnie begins to get upset, Trevor helps.

Trevor helps.

After a few days of noticing what Trevor was doing to support Ronnie, I asked Trevor to stay after class. I told him how touched I was that he was helping his classmate so much. Trevor looked at me like I were crazy, politely thanked me, and left.

This wasn't enough for me. I decided I needed to let Trevor's parents know what an amazing kid they had raised. I explained what Trevor was doing. I made sure to stress that this was in no way interfering with Trevor's learning. In fact, it was enhancing his understanding. After all, there is no better way to solidify your knowledge than by teaching it to someone else.

Instead of a glowing email telling me that I had made their night week month life, they simply responded "Thanks".

The next line read, "Oh you must mean Ronnie. Trevor and he have been friends forever."

If you want to "happy cry" check out the story of how this teenager shook off the teasing of his friends to help a little girl he had never met to learn to skateboard.

That is what gives me faith in humanity. There are still people out there who think that being kind, understanding and helpful is still just expected behavior. Their son didn't need praise or a medal for being a good kid. He's just friends with a kid who happens to need a little help in some areas. That is what friends do. They pull each other up. They support each other. They help each other.

Trevor helps.

Images 1, 2, 3, 4

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I really loved reading this @hanshotfirst. No thanks necessarily--just being who he is meant to be. What a great example! Thanks for sharing. I'm grateful I stopped by your blog.

And this is what everyone must and i repeat must do. It is so simple and yet way too many people don't follow that logic and principles and that's one of the main reasons in my opinion the world is f@@ up.

I hope more and more people realizing the benefits of kindness and helping each other and little by little to move forward!

When Trevor has a difficult time starting his tablet so he can type instead of write, Trevor helps. When Ronnie begins to get upset, Trevor helps.

I think you wanted to type Ronnie instead of Trevor in the beginning right?


LOL! Thank you!!!! I sure did. I will fix it!

I hope that there will be lots of Trevor to be born in this world because of the number of Ronnies around already @hanshotfirst

I think we are always avoiding advice instead how good it is, we also belive that we are self dependent on every decision. But you have revealed the story from the point of view, and really we need some humanity restored.

It is a common thing thatgovernments focus on the negative side of things. Btw, I love to read such an act of humanity and it's just super amazing that it is coming from a kid. Humanity is religion!

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My brother was in the type of class you teach. He's in his 40's now. I think his teacher back then in high school was one of the most important people he has ever known. Any time I ever walked past that room, I'd see him smiling. At home he was a bit of a grouch, but hey! It's all good.


I am really happy your brother had that positive influence. Although something tells me that you have been one as well.


Well, we're brothers. Growing up we did what brothers do and sometimes that meant I was on the receiving end of a body slam because I had cinched in the sharpshooter a little too tight.


I stand by my previous statement.


My name is Joseph and I just saw your post in new, the title was interesting, so I read it. It was a nice piece and I am happy the boy and parents feel what he is doing is normal. But I understand your point that we don’t hear the good things, so after a while we assume the bad stuff is the new norm. I don’t think so, but don’t know for sure. You work with kids, so you would know better then I. I believe that many of the kids are decent human beings who would do similar things in similar situations, but that’s my hope and wish.
Thanks for the story it reinforces my bias that people are intrinsically good and need some training, prodding or poor parenting to be intentionally bad. But I recognize exceptions exist. I hope there’s a healthy discussion on your blog about this article.
Take care and I will start reading your blog now.

Joseph a.k.a. @shortsegments



I do think that people are naturally good. I have also seen some very strong people over come terrible parenting and environment. Sadly, it does not happen all the time.

de verdad te felicito, gente como tu necesitamos mas en este mundo para hacer de él un lugar acogedor, si enseñamos al niño de hoy no va a ser necesario castigar al hombre de mañana, de verdad es maravilloso su labor en pro de la humanidad, saludo a sus alumnos y que Dios lo bendiga

That was lovely to read, what a special person for being a true friend. I know how hard it is for youngsters with problems to keep a friend. This made me smile :)


Mission accomplished! Seriously that is what I was hoping for. I had a really bad day today and decided I would get out of it by writing something positive.


Seems those boy has brought happiness to more than just his friend :)

Perception is Reality.
We are, as animals, shaped by 150 million years of evolutionary biology. We can't help but be drawn to the problems life presents us with.

We are, as humans, bestowed the gift of individual choice, in electing how we choose to characterize our future by the choices we make in the present.

Your blog serves as a reminder to choose to look to the good in life, rather than default to the reactionary precepts build into our evolutionary programming.

As Jung said:
No tree can grow to Heaven unless its roots reach down to Hell.

Thank you providing an example of the former, when the world seems so focused on the latter.


Thank you for recognizing my desire to look for the positives in this world.

@hanshotfirst I am reading this post early morning in India. I must say it made my day. Normally a small thing we do will be announced in social media these days. But these people think its just normal that their son is good . God bless that family.thank u

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Amazing story. Seeing this in print is so much more impactful to me than if I were to have seen some random news journalist do an exposé and go crazy about saying how wonderful this kid is, and likely make the whole story seem forced and overblown.

Well done to you in your writing, and well done to Trevor, for being a great example for others!

Thanks for sharing!

This is such nice feel story, thank you @hanshotfirst. Having been in education I know that there are plenty of these "good" kids in schools.

There is still beauty in humanity....Thanks for this touching post @hanshotfirst

That was an interesting story, it is sometimes very simple answer there where we look for complicated. I am glad Ronnie has such a good friend, the good thing is the friendship we start in childhood is the most stable and fair. It is a shame that we do not think about that sometimes and lose contacts with our old friends :)

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what an interesting article What I like most is the contribution you make for education in our patlaforma. I also helped to promote education. We should be more friends.