Jonathon Turner entered the teaching world fresh out of college with big ambitions. He was going to impact the world. He was going to influence young minds. He was going to touch the loves of thousands of students. He would make them all appreciate literature. Make them understand how the classics still applied to their lives today and how they were the ultimate connections to human emotions. It was not long after he started teaching that his dreams were swiftly squashed.
He quickly learned that there were three types of students. The first type were those that came in the fist day of class ready to learn and absorb, either for their own betterment or in some pre-known worry of grades and colleges. The second type were a little trickier. Those were the ones you had to reach out to. The ones you had to push. The ones that, if you found the right angle with, they would learn.
But the third type, well, they were the worst. They were the students you never could reach out enough, push them far enough, or find the right angle for. They were the type that, no matter how hard you tried, you never quite got to them.
Once Jon faced that fact it was a blow to his ego. It was a sudden shock that he couldn't save everyone. He couldn't make a great difference in the world. He couldn't make all of his students feel or believe or even try.
That didn't make Jonathon stop trying, well at least not at first. Though he did credit himself with that fact that he did stay himself that whole time. He remained the young, hip teacher he had started as. He wore his denim and his earring and long hair and rod his Harley. He attempted to remain in touch with his many students. He attempted to be open for their suggestions in class and their problems outside of class. 'Cause, hell, if he can't teach them he might as well give them life advice if asked for it.
That's one thing that Jon had different from other teachers. His theory. Most teachers and principles preached that they should never (never, ever, ever, under no circumstances) get involved with their pupils' personal lives. Jonathon thought very differently. He thought you should. Particularly when they turned to you for help when something was wrong and they had no where else to go. And even more especially when they didn't.
That belief alone set Jon up to be knocked down again and again and again. Reaching out and having his hand slapped away. Trying to push and being pushed back. Failing to help when he tried to and, worse, failing to try to help…He wasn't going to let that happen again.
At the first school Mr. Turner taught, about his fifth year at it, he met a boy named Dustin. His father had run off and his mother drank too much and was always bringing back different boyfriends home. Jon hadn't found those specifics out till afterward, but he could tell things were rough.
Dustin missed homeroom a lot, sometimes whole days of school. He usually came in with bruises. Sometimes he came in with the same clothes he wore the day before with dark circles under his eyes like he hadn't even gone home the day before. Many times, too many times, he looked half-starved, forced to stand in a shameful line for free lunch.
Now Jonathon watched this for several months. The high school had just received a new principle that year who avidly pronounced that teachers not getting involved with pupils lives' personally (and the principle had heard Jon's rep.) Of course, Jonathon, tired of being knocked off his high horse, tired of failing, decided to try the conventional teacher role. He kept his eyes open of course, and one always on Dustin, but he had no proof other than he was poor and got in fights.
It was March tenth, Jon never forgot that. The kid wasn't in homeroom, or first period, or second period, or third period… He was in the teacher's lounge on a break when he got the news. Dustin had died, actually, he was killed. It seemed his mom brought home a not so nice guy with a temper and a drinking problem to match. And Dustin, well, half malnourished, undersized, and tired, he just wasn't strong enough to fight him off or protect himself…
Jonathon moved to Philly the next year and got a job at John Adams High with the determination that he would never again, despite any principle or headmaster telling him how much to get involved with student's lives, let someone who needed help slip by him again.
That's where he met Shawn Hunter. He was an okay kid, a bit of a slacker, a class clown. Not the sharpest crayon in the box, but again, an okay kid. He got mixed up sometimes, trying to discover himself, running away, getting attached to the wrong crowd…, but he always pulled himself around.
It was just short of two years later when Shawn's mother and father left him, not lonely parentless, but homeless too. This kid was ready to runaway. Ready to break the rules. Ready to live on the streets. Jon had a chance to change all of that, hell, he was already involved. So in his most controversial move yet, he offered the kid a home.
It was tough, being a parent, raising a teenager. But without him, where would have Shawn ended up? He wasn't sure but it had to be somewhere worse than he was.
So Jonathan Turner finally figured it out. He didn't have to save the world or single handedly teach all of its children. If he affected one person. If he saved one life. If he changed one single future for the better, helped some student, some child learn how to live and understand what it was like to have someone care about you…all the years of failure and anguish were worth it.
All he needed was to help one person…and he knew that not only would he being following his dreams, but giving some kid a chance to follow his own.