« Lessons on parenting | Main

New Adventures



It was the last day of school. It was my last day of work. Proudly, all of my eighth graders had graduated from middle school. I had just spent 20 minutes tunneling out of the post-graduation crowd in the hallway, detouring every few seconds to hug and say good-bye to students. I was finally in my classroom again, cleaning up, printing out last-minute documents, and stuffing teaching books into boxes and bags. I had 55 minutes left in the school I had made my own for the past two years. I was crying. I was packing. I had things to do.

Suddenly, 13-year-old “Margaret” was in front of my desk with a slight smile on her face. I thought I had locked my door, but apparently not. I quickly finished blowing my nose and hastily wiped aside the tears still streaming down my face. When that didn’t help my composure, I flashed her a grin and shrugged. “Teachers cry too.”

Still she stood there, staring at me silently with that shy smile. Margaret had always been my sweetest student. Despite dealing with fetal alcohol effects, a perpetually runny nose, and constant ridicule from her classmates for being half African American, she managed to maintain her encouraging outlook on life. (I get misty once again as I write this faraway in Texas.)

I walk around my desk and put my arm around her shoulder, congratulating her again on graduating and asking if she was excited about high school. Still, she didn’t budge. Finally, she turned to me. “I’m scared.”

I smiled a little and sighed. Hugging her, I said, “Margaret, high school is an adventure.”

“Adventures can be scary and adventures can be fun. But the most important thing about adventures is that you learn from them and they change you as a person.”

“Margaret, make sure you step back and learn from your adventures in high school. Be smart, be brave and try your hardest. I’m so proud of you already.”

And with that, I would like to end On the Reservation. To all the readers, thank you for your time and incredible feedback. I too am about to begin a new adventure. Please continue reading my blogs at New Terrain


Hi there, we came across your blog on the net and enjoyed reading about your work in a school on a reservation. We're currently working with a few tribes in the mid-west... We'd love it if you'd stop by our blog and give us your thoughts. Have a great day!


Delurking, finally, after reading your wonderful work for the last two years:

Congratulations on finishing your first teaching experience. It certainly sounds like you have learned and grown so much, and thank you for sharing all those things with us.

All the best in your new adventure! Looking forward to reading your new blog.


I'm teaching in Brooklyn, NYC right now, but would like to move out West for next year. I would like to ask you some questions about teaching on a reservation. My email is [email protected]

take care

I always see your blog.
I am looking forward to renewal of your blog.
Please take a look my site, if it's possible.

Dear Ms. Shyu:
Good luck with your career in special education. It can be a nutty ride, but well worth the effort. I am a middle school special ed teacher in St.Louis, and am soliciting contacts with teachers of like experiences. I have written a novel about my 20 years in 'the biz'. If you or others would like to see a sample, please contact me.
Again,congratulations on getting through what can be the toughest year of your career.

I came across your blog on the net and really enjoyed reading it. I'm presently writing a paper alcohol abuse on the reservation. I'm in So Cal. near the Pechanga / Luiseno reservation.
I write ....
The success of prevention and treatment programs are in the tribe’s families and community itself. Drug abuse hurts all tribal members, not only the abuser but his/her family and tribe as well. I have seen that the Pechanga Indians have an A.A. program and provide a meeting place 3 times a week. They also have an awareness program along with the jobs program in the Casino. The elders of the tribe have made the reservation itself “Dry” no alcohol except in the casino. I believe that providing employment for the youth is a paramount importance to the person who is interested on working on self-esteem. Summer jobs along with education and accessibility to higher learning institutions is the key. In the Pechanga reservation school they teach the little ones their native language and so while the child is in school all that day he is speaking his own language. They reinforce in the child the value of being a Native American and show him the pride he should have in the present day tribe. He is active and engaged and has purpose and passion. This is a good ingredient for fighting of alcohol and drug addiction in their later years.
What do you think? Any advice?
Ralph Irwin another struggling student

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Ralph Irwin: I came across your blog on the net and really read more
  • Tom Anselm: Dear Ms. Shyu: Good luck with your career in special read more
  • 派遣 口コミ: I always see your blog. I am looking forward to read more
  • gabe: hi, I'm teaching in Brooklyn, NYC right now, but would read more
  • Julie: Delurking, finally, after reading your wonderful work for the last read more




Technorati search

» Blogs that link here