Teaching Ern

Shared by Karen Rudder Jones on April 25, 2011

 

I remember vividly, Ern’s Junior year; he and his best buds, Billy and Eddie, and trying to get through the Scarlet Letter and all the other American Literature that 16 year old boys have absolutely no use for. But, we did. Towards the end of the year, they began begging me to teach Senior English the next year, to which I adamantly told them, “NO WAY!!” They begged, pleaded, made promises they had no intentions of keeping and all the while I kept telling them not a snowball’s chance! LOL 
I had no control over my schedule, and sure enough I was scheduled for a Senior Class for the next year; I remember them running in my room after registration hooping and hollering that they were going to be in my class and we was gonna “have some fun!”    I did end up having all of those boys and a couple other of the baseball team that next year. As it worked out, I had Ern for two years in English and two years in Homeroom. His smile, his laugh, and his personality was that of a kid that you couldn’t help but love. He loved me back too. I know this because if I had to get on him about staying on task or hearing him say or do something he shouldn’t, he’d reply, “Ms. Jackson, you know you ‘yearn for the ERn!”  LOL To which all the kids would burst out in laughter and it would be all that I could do to contain myself.  I remember after being absent one day, when I returned, my 32 inch television was turned upside on my filing cabinet. I immediately knew the culprits. When they came to class they were all so excited to see my reaction. I pretended like I hadn’t seen it and began class as usual. They kept doing little things to try to get me to notice the t.v. and I’d ignore it. Finally, they couldn’t’ stand it any longer and had to make me look at it. I looked, acted like it was business as usual, and demanded, “now boys, get up here and fix this t.v. back right now!” Once they got that reaction, they were pleased. Here came Ern and his 2 comrades to flip the t.v. back up to its right side. 
Like a few other kids in my career, Ern became like my own child. I spent hours with him every day for two years. I watched him go through his girls;  had him when he got his license; heard of his weekend adventures with his buddies (some of which I did not want to know! LOL) I remember the Monday that he came in and so proudly told me he had gotten saved at church that weekend. Ern spoke often of his mother and I could feel how much he loved her. I didn't see that or the kindness that Ern had in a lot of the kids that I had. I could tell he was a Momma’s boy!   Even though he and those boys were a handful, and not the easiest group to try to teach Shakespeare, they never gave me any problems or disrespected me in any way. One day in the Spring of Senior Year, the circus had come to SLHS. They were setting up in the parking lot for the nightly performance. It was during my planning and here came Ern and two others bursting into my room, begging me to take them down to see the circus. I asked where they were suppose to be and they insisted they had permission to be out of whatever class they were in (LOL) and kept begging for me to take them to see the elephants. It was like a handful of 5 year old little boys in grown men’s bodies. LOL  So, I locked up and walked them down to the parking lot and for 10 min. they perused through all the circus animals. This satisfied them and when I told them time to go, like little kids, they came and I sent them back on their way to whatever class they belonged. Ern was so excited to graduate. We worked so hard on his Portfolio and every revision I’d suggest, he’d painstakingly do everything I’d ask.   I remember coming to class one day and finding a note stuck in my Teacher’s Edition Literature book. It was from Ern, “Ms. Jackson, I just want you to know how much I appreciate everything you and Mr. Jackson have done for me and I love you both. Ern”    I teared up. We had done nothing extraordinary for Ern at all, simply our jobs. But that was the kind of kid Ern was, appreciative, thoughtful, and respectful.    He knew he was graduating and this was his serious goodbye.
That group graduated and I didn't see them again. However, a few years ago, I got called for Jury Duty, and Ern had been called too. It was strange interacting with him in an adult setting. He told me he had just gotten a job at Wal Mart DC. I told him how proud I was of him and the young man he had become and told him what I told him every Friday when I had him in school and when he graduated, "Ern, be a good boy." He said what he always said, “I will Ms. Jackson." :) 
I often think of the kids who were my favorites or that I bonded with in a special way. Some, who are now adults, are friends of mine on Facebook and I follow their lives with pride at their accomplishments. I will always remember coming to work one morning, and a co-worker whose daughter and son-in-law were best friends of Ern’s, knew that I was close to all of those kids as her son-in-law had been one of them. She asked me if I had heard. When she told me of Ernest’s death, I was devastated. I retreated to my office and cried and cried.  I've lost several kids in my teaching career, and it's hard, but when you've bonded with that child, it's harder. It’s like losing a family member.  I didn't even realize that this week was the anniversary of his death; but, I was thinking of him and had his mother on my heart and how she must hurt. I have my own little boy now, who is 10, and I can't imagine her loss or pain. Ironically, I was pregnant with my 10 year old son when I had that group of boys as Seniors.   I felt so convicted to send his mother a letter, just to let her know what a special boy Ern was and what a special place he held in my heart as his teacher and to tell her how much he had loved her. I am so glad that I did as we always pray to God to offer peace and comfort to those in need; but sometimes, it is God who convicts us to share or say something that is a message that offers that peace and comfort with kind words or sharing fond memories.    Ern will always be in my heart along with the rest of my students who touched my life during my teaching career.

Halloween '95

Shared by John Hampton on April 23, 2011

One of the funniest memories I have of Ern was of him and I trying to prank trick or treaters.  Chanda and I had came up from FL with my parents (Minnie and Johnny) to show off our newest addition Joshua (7months old).  Ern had been holding Josh on and off all day and this formed a bond between the two that would last forever.  Well that night I said "hey Ern wanna have some fun?". My idea was the over hang from the porch upstairs at Sarahs house would be a wonderful place to welcome the trick or treaters with water ballons.  So here was this 24yo and 14yo working side by side filling up water ballons to drop on anyone who came to the door to take "our" candy. We were about to put our plan into action when someone had snitched on us to Sandra (I think it was my wife). We hear "you two better get in here right now!" so we both give our "hey I am innocent look" I said we arent doing anything Ern chimes in we are just sittin out here... Again "I said get in here!" Ern looks at me and says " I think she is really mad." nah dont worry about it...Sandra says "I will still bust both of your @$$$$!" I thought ok maybe we should get on in cause Sandra did sound pretty serious this time and I remembered 20 yrs ealier when she actually did it. So we dumped almost all of our ballons and headed in... I still think we got more of the good candy than any of the treaters though... I LOVE AND MISS YOU ERN!

STORE

Shared by Sandra Garland on April 22, 2011

I remember once when Ern was around 6 or7 I was going to go to the store, and I told Larry 'the boys are staying with you' o.k. he said..  Well, half way down the road I heard giggles coming from the back, stopped and there was Ern in the floor behide my seat just dying alaughing... he said'' I'm going with you mom''  LOL   So had to go back and tell his dad ''Ern's with me''  Thats the way he was my side-kick even after he got to driving alot of times if I was going to store he would ride with me and set in car till I got down shopping.. Knowing him he was scoping out the girlies while I was shopping..lol

          He was like me when he got to laughing he could not stop, I'd say hush Ern and the harder he would laugh till he got me started than we both couldn't hush....it was really bad if we were in church!!!!LOL  

     Oh another time he had mom who he called ''Granny'' take him to dairy queen he said ''Granny I want a SWIRL ice cream.. Well when mom ordered she said I want a squirrel ice cream...LOL   Ern and I lost it we laughed till we cried... M om said sh** laugh I'll not order again and of course that started another round....so many stories I'll be adding along the way..  And friends and family if you have a story share with us..

 

 

 

 

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