by Kevin Jones
As a sophomore in high school, I had a teacher who told me that he expected more out of me. This was in social studies which was the only class I cared about. It touched enough things to be interesting. I got upset about a bad grade; I had always aced social studies as the class I showed up for. I didn’t this assignment. I squealed. He told me to go to the back of the class and wait on him. I waited.
After class he came up to me and told me he expected more out of me. At that point, I was fulfilling everyone’s expectations by heading straight toward a disastrous failure. Nobody was expecting any more than that from me, but this guy apparently did, from the way he looked at me.
So I stopped stealing cars and hanging out with car thieves, got on the honor roll and went to college. It was about 30 seconds of something that was just a different kind of contact than I’d had; someone expecting me to be more.
I changed my life based on that look he gave me. I think it is very clear that he never knew the impact he had on me or anything I’ve done. In Jr. High, in contrast, I had two teachers who bet I’d never make it through high school. I was, consciously or not, fulfilling their bet when Fred Pacheco asked me to wait after class that day in the spring of 1966.