Thursday, December 15, 2011

"You're bad day could be this kid's lifetime memory."

I had been warned several times when I started school that I shouldnt be surprised if students made me cry. It's hard and emotional I wad told and that kids can be mean. This didn't happen this semester, no child was so mean to me that cried. I always just remember that they are children and more importantly that it is nothing personal especially with middle school kids.

I finally did wind up crying though because of a student the last two days. One of my students and her friend who are notorious for messing around and playing in the hallway, got tripped up and fell face first onto the concrete in the stairwell and busted half of her front tooth off. At the time I was helping another student get her locker open, and then I turned around the teacher across the hallway was running toward the stairwell along with several of the girls and I heard someone crying and yelling. I assumed a fight so I was trying to get all the students back into the classroom. Then I went down the hallway and the teachers holding a student looking in her mouth as tears were pouring down her face. I realized it was her tooth. So one of the girls and I got on our hands and knees looking for pieces of tooth and barricading the hallway from the barrage of tiny creatures from the elementary school trying to enter. We found a few pieces, put them in milk, then took the girl and her friend to the nurse, they were both crying. We got some sugar free gum and put it on her tooth because her root was completely exposed. I felt so bad for her.

So, I had this period as planning and my co-teacher was in an observation, so I sat with the girls in the nurse office and talked to them and just tried to be supportive while they were both crying. The interesting thing about these girls, and what really impacted me the most, is that it was a stunning reminder of how vulnerable young people are at this time in their lives. These girls are tough, they are the girls that other students are afraid of, they are somewhat behavioral leaders in their classes, and they are known by all the teachers for good and bad reasons. The fact to have both of them sobbing and actual hugging and wanting to be comforted was a really powerful experience. I have had girls and boys cry several times over the past months and sometimes we have those students who always have a problem and cry very often, but that is not these students. It was very emotional and very powerful.

I did tear up in front of them but it wasn't until I was alone in the classroom that it really impacted me and I just couldn't hold it in anymore.

These are trying times for kids.

It is always interesting how things seem to be so connected in little but enormous coincidences. Our guest speaker for my last class of Educational Alternatives last night said something that really reasonated with me. She said "You're bad day could be this kid's lifetime memory. Remember we are there for them, this is their school experience, this is just our job. You will forget this a week from now or maybe a year from now, but these kids are going to remember this forever."

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