Teacher Pay

James is defeated.
His eyes are downcast.
His shoulders droop.
James does not believe in James.

His first report card is poor.
The parent conference goes well.
His parents believe in James.
I believe in James.
James does not yet believe in James.

Days go by.
James gets a right answer.
James makes a thoughtful comment.

Weeks go by.
James contributes a new idea.
James makes the honor roll.

Months go by.
A light shines in James’s eye.
I knew he had won
The day he asked the question.
“What did you say you need to go to college?”

I answer, “A scholarship?”

“Yes,” he says, “and if you work hard . . . ”

James is a winner.
James believes in James.

[Based on an honest-to-goodness second grader I once knew who was not named James!]