Students reflect absence felt after Wood’s departure

Atiyah Lane

Teachers and students have faced the loss of the copy center, but for many, what has been hardest is the loss of Mike Woods, who ran the center and, in doing so, connected with students in meaningful ways.
Woods transferred to the Center of Responsive Education (CORE), a CPS program that helps students who don’t work well in regular classroooms.
His transition has been challenging, but still a great learning experience.
“The difference from school to school are as following: [RBHS] kids want to be there,” he said. “CORE kids had a choice [too], however, their behavior got them sent here.”
His sensitivity and understanding is what some RBHS students say they miss by not seeing him in the halls.
“He actually put in an effort to make a connection with them and not just make it like you’re here to learn,” junior Myanna Grant said.
Though Bruins miss his ability to bond with his students, the CORE students are benefitting from his skillset.
“Building a relationship is very important with an adult or a student. A relationship allows you to do certain things that you couldn’t do if you didn’t have a relationship. We work on building trust and honesty,” Woods said. “Honesty comes to the table more often than not. And I really, really miss that about all my kids. I’ve always told them, I’ll be honest with you and if you don’t wanna hear the truth don’t ask me. But most of them stayed around anyways so you know it was very enjoyable, and it’s a great honor and pleasure and knowing that you trust me enough to tell you the truth because nobody likes to be lied to.”
Telling the truth was what actually attracted the students to come and talk to Woods because they felt more comfortable.
“Other teachers don’t make an effort to connect with the students,” senior Raylen Blackson said. “That brings conflict between a student and a teacher because you pretend to know me but you don’t really know me. Then I go to Mr. Woods, and he really knows me ‘cause we’ve took that time to really get to know each other.”
Students can still see Woods on home ground working at RBHS’s athletic games. After 11 years of working here, it was hard to say goodbye, he said.
“Having the opportunity to go back to this book that I keep of thank you cards and just special notes from teachers and or a lot of students that are saying thank you,” Woods said. “I’ve helped so many people, and it just feels like it’s difficult to do the same thing where I’m at now.”