The Movie, Stand and Deliver, speaks about a teacher named Jaime Escalante, who taught mathematics at Garfield High School from 1974 -1991. Escalante had two Johnny’s in his class. They couldn’t have been more different. One Johnny was an excellent student, a clear leader and a role model. He worked diligently, participated in discussions, and was helpful to those around him. He always had his home assignments done on time.
The other Johnny was sullen, disheveled, and unresponsive. He usually came in late, took his seat at the back of the class, and disrupted the class, causing trouble. He never did his homework and often came in without his books.
After a few weeks, on the evening of the first PTA open house there was opportunity for parent-teacher interaction. A large woman stayed after the others had left. She approached the teacher, introduced herself as Johnny’s mother, and asked how her son Johnny was doing. The teacher was delighted to meet her.
Assuming she was the mother of the “good Johnny,” he sincerely shared his admiration for her son and made a point of what a great asset Johnny was to the class. He told her that he would love to have an entire classroom full of kids like her son.
The next day, the two Johnny’s came to class. Something was different. The troubled Johnny came in on time and had his homework done. He was attentive through the entire class, raising his hand and participating in discussions.
Everyone in the classroom noticed this sudden change in personality. When the class was dismissed, this Johnny stayed behind. He approached the teacher. Speaking softly he said, “My mom told me what you said about me. I’ve never had a teacher before who wanted me in his class.”
He became one of the best students the teacher ever had. A simple case of mistaken identity and a done of unintended appreciation changed Johnny’s life!