Blog Author: Jance Morris, Middle School Principal, Sunray ISD
I’m sitting in my office waiting on three young men to pick up keys and garage door openers for a house they will move into this week. They have two combined years of teaching experience, the world by the tail, and are excited about every opportunity presented to them.
I met these young men (then boys) in March of 2015. I had no understanding of the TRUE power of positive relationships at the time. I had just been hired to be their History teacher and Basketball Coach. They gladly jumped out of trucks and helped my 8-month pregnant wife and me unload box after box out of the U-Haul. We were off to a great start.
Two years later I was off to another job in West Texas, but the relationships formed with these boys, their parents, and the community was the greatest blessing of my professional career. They taught me more than I could ever teach them – how to build relationships, how to invest in kids outside of my classroom or basketball court, and how to build meaningful, purposeful connections with individual students. I was 7 years into my career before it ‘clicked,’ and all it took was several teenaged Panhandle boys. Who knew kids could teach you the purpose of the profession?
One of the young men ended up quitting basketball, one went to college after our first year, and one became the favorite player I have ever coached. I have a picture of my son’s first birthday party framed on my desk. They are all in the picture. I get to deliver the invitation to his sixth birthday party to them this morning. I know they will all be there. He looks at them like Batman and Superman. They have a powerful, positive relationship with my son. I am so glad they taught me that all those years ago. My hope is we can continue to build upon it, they establish relationships with every student in our building, and lifetime bonds are built.