It’s always entertaining to watch peoples’ expression when I tell them that I teach a “behavior” class. I say expression instead of expressions because it’s usually the same every time–their mouths drop, their eyebrows raise, and they say “oh!” in dawning understanding–all three things happening in unison, as if their mouths, eyebrows, and voice boxes were attached to strings that got pulled at the same time. And in that moment, I know what they are thinking…they are imagining students with gang signs tattooed on their necks being wrestled to the ground and handcuffed. If only that was reality…

But it’s not, and that’s not what this blog is about.

It’s not about students slinging chairs or pulling knives or trying to put rat poison in my coffee when I’m not looking. It’s about the mental and emotional day-to-day grind. It’s about broken homes and wounded spirits. It’s about laughter. It’s about misplaced love, abandonment issues, and masked emotions. It’s about pain and bitterness and joy and triumph. It’s about the reality of teenagers trying to find meaning and purpose in a confused world. It’s about kids knowing that they belong, that they matter, that there is hope for a better tomorrow.

It’s about being the hands and feet of JESUS.

This is their journey. This is our journey. This is what really goes on inside the walls of my alternative classroom. Inside the walls of my alternative life.

Enjoy.

-William M. Morrow

(Note: Names have been changed in order to protect the privacy of students and their families.)