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WHY I TEACH-Part 12: Admitting I’m Out of My League

by Kelley M Likes 6 months ago in student · updated 5 months ago
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Because They Want to Learn.

And I’m the teacher.

“I want to start an FBLA Chapter,” I said as I stood nervously in front of Mr. Myers.

He cocked his head and gave me an inquisitive look.

“Future Business Leaders of America.” I sucked in my breath.

Mr. Myers snorted. “Business leaders, with your students, you can’t be serious.”

I breathed out. “Yes, my students, future business leaders.”

“To expand their drug businesses?” Mr. Myers shook his head.

“My students aren’t drug dealers.”

Mr. Myers snorted again.

“Well?” I asked arms crossed, defensive position.

“There’s no money in the budget for any new clubs,” he said as he returned focus to his computer.

“That’s not a problem, we can do fundraisers like candy sales or work at the stadium.”

Mr. Myers peered out behind the computer. “Stadium?”

“Yes, the Benz Stadium allows groups to come in and run a concession stand during a game. The group gets 10% of the proceeds and gets to watch any event.”

“Can any group do this?” Mr. Myers scribbled something down on a post-it note.

“I believe so. You just need to reach out to the fundraiser coordinator, Alex Jorgenson.”

More scribbling.

“So can I start an FBLA Chapter?”

“No candy sales in your classroom.”

“Fine, I can have the students sell it.”

“They’ll be good at it,” Mr. Myers said with a genuine smile.

I gave him a most disagreeable look and he shrugged. “You have my permission to start the club.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Back in my classroom, I had set up twelve stations for the kids to start exploring the world of computer repair. I had begged the county IT department to give me any old, unused computers for the task. They graciously provided twelve working computer dinosaurs and lots of spare parts. With the shelves of old parts left over from the previous teacher, I felt almost confident we could take apart and rebuild these computers.

The YouTube videos fresh in my mind, I instructed the students how to take apart all the workings inside the computer. I reversed the task and watched each group carefully put the computers back together.

“Um,” a boy at the table next to Terrance said, “What do we do with all the leftover parts?”

“Dumbass,” Terrance blurted out. He stifled a laugh in the crook of his arm.

“I’m sure it will be fine,” I said. “Just don’t plug it in.”

“Wait? What?” a boy from the table in the back said. “We aren’t supposed to plug them in?”

As if on cue, a puff of smoke leaked from the cd-drive.

“Unplug it now!” I screamed.

With lightning speed, Terrance reached the table, grabbed the computer, ran to the back door, opened it, and chucked the computer out into the grass. It landed with a resounding crunch.

I am going to need to watch more videos, I thought, and, good thing FBLA doesn’t have an event for computer repair.

“Let’s try again tomorrow,” I said wearily.

I spent most of the night reviewing online videos only to discover that I really didn’t get it. I pulled up the website for the local tech school and found a couple of certification courses for programming and computer repair. I signed up.

For the next eight weeks, my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights were filled with lots of stuff I never really wanted to learn but needed to learn.

I’d go to class at night and then teach my students all that I’d learned the following days. And they got it and loved it—which makes sense because they’d signed up for my classes.

I learned how to troubleshoot and fix a computer—a job previously held by Stuart. I learned how to write code which, for a dyslexic person, I think is pretty amazing.

The courses counted towards professional learning hours for my teaching recertification, too.

And, I’m happy to report, there were no more computer accidents, except for the time when a kid somehow managed to hook the battery up wrong, which caused a spark, and a small fire, then a catapulted computer burning on the grass outside my classroom back door.


About the author

Kelley M Likes

I'm a wife & mother of five spectacular kids, retired teacher, B+ Latter-day Saint, Recovering Codependent Guide @

Find my books @

I'm also the CEO of NetherCream @

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