Malibu And Ridge Tiles
--by RoseMarie, posted Jul 1, 2016
He was standing on the ridge tiles when I phoned him. I thought he was joking as he laughed and allowed me to continue with my call. Then I told him it was a courtesy call. He knew it was about his autistic son who was on a two year program, but had not achieved any units for his course in year one. He knew I had started teaching his son in September and his son was struggling with me. He knew this because he was angry when I asked him to come and see me in January.
He for his part, complained to the head of the training department who requested my line manager be present at the meeting. The problem you see was not his son but me. After all, I had given 7 warnings out in one day yes 7 warnings in one day and they all hated me (17 year old students). His son was agitated about coming to class. After the meeting though, his perspective changed and he told me he saw me as a person who was caring and passionate about my job and my students.
Back to the ridge tiles. I said 'Owen, this is a courtesy call. I want to tell you that Peter has passed his full Diploma. He has achieved 2 year's work in 1 year. I also want to tell you that your son and another student bought me a bottle of Malibu to thank me for being his teacher.'
Owen's voice broke ... He can't have bought you a present Rose-Marie, he has no money. He came and asked me for money for his lunches this week.' Owen was overwhelmed and emotional.
'I need to get off these ridge tiles Rose-Marie, have you any idea how much what you are saying is affecting me?' Owen cried happy tears.
Owen was proud of his son. Proud that he'd achieved a 2 year Diploma in a year. Thankful that Peter had worked with me. Proud too that his son had acknowledged me when he really didn't have the money to do so.
The second year of Peter's program started in September but it took until January before he would even say my name. It took until March before he actually smiled at me.
'You know Rose-Marie, he does love you.' said Owen. Owen told me he knew 5 minutes after meeting me that I was dedicated to my job and to setting boundaries and getting the best from my students. We chatted for a long time, Owen still on the ridge tiles. He thanked me for my call and told me I had no idea how important this call was to him.
Owen's response and full turnaround was so important to me too. When I think of ridge tiles, I'll always think of my conversation with Owen and I don't think I'll ever taste such a beautiful bottle of Malibu ever again. I love my students and I love when I see such growth especially when they have been really challenging.