Alumni Spotlight: Chaleese Norman

Name: Chaleese Norman
Corps Year & Region: Los Angeles '02
My Story: So it's one of those days when you realize that you are looking for two teachers in the middle of the year and the bigger districts have hired everyone breathing with a credential. You sit in your office and read a report that says your not doing well and ask should I keep doing this? Just then as you walk past the lunch room you see a student with their head hanging down and you ask for a Presidential fist bump to which you get no reply. Just when you think I quit, another student tackles your legs and says he needs a HUG not a fist bump. Then it hits you that sometimes the adults need a hug too, not just a fist bump. You know what I mean by a fist bump. A quick thank you email, the passing your doing a good job, or the token donuts on the staff table. They need a HUG...they need you to stop in their room and gloat on the new bulletin board, give them at least 3 reasons the school wouldn't be the same without them, and to tell them that it's OK and even if this little bit of data doesn't get done because the lesson they just presented will leave a memory that the kids will never forget. Today, I was reminded that my job is about giving out hugs. Hugs to remind people that they are loved. To remind them that education is about passion. To signal we are in this together. To show how to heal boo-boos and disappointment. To fill the voids of loneliness that sometimes takes over in a room full of kids. To signal the strength needed to press through tough challenges and long planning sessions. To remind us that we all came "back to school" because somewhere along the path of education we fell in love with learning and I'm almost sure we can all remember the teachers that gave out HUGS!