Cue Gloria Estefan.
If you are any kind of secondary teacher eventually the kids will confide in you. This is by far the most anxiety-producing part of the job for me. I seriously pray that I will not screw up when these confidences are shared and I have to decide what my response will be, but respond I will, and I let the kids know it. I will listen, I will offer advice if asked, but I do not promise to keep secrets if something I hear worries me about a student's welfare and safety. I tend to be of the no-nonsense, problem-solving practical breed of advice-giver: "What can you control? What CAN'T you control? Let go of it, control what you can, and have a plan for your life to overcome this obstacle in measurable steps."
There must be a full moon or something, because, today was a banner day. I carried the stories of THREE kids to the counselors today. I did this because they wouldn't go themselves. And go is exactly what they needed. And frankly they know this about me since I make no bones about it, so think they wanted me to push the point and get them there. Passivity is one of the worst signs of depression.
Despite my crusty exterior, once you are my student, you are one of "my kids." even sometimes if you haven't been my student, actually, as one of the kids from today's crises has never actually been in my classroom but is one of the kids I seem to be constantly chivvying in the hallway.
I am just saying this because, it is that time of year, friends. Five of my students are sharing with me that there is a divorce going on in the household. One has a dying grandma in a culture that especially reveres the older generation. Two are being watched for suicidal tendencies. One is being watched for an eating disorder. One is contemplating coming out, I think, even though he hasn't actually admitted it.
I would like to explain to all of the haters of public education that THIS is what we do as wll as convey information, cover objectives, assess learning, develop curriculum, grade, grade, grade, question, answer, raise ACT scores, tutor after school, support sporting events, increase vocabulary, write across the curriculum, take surveys, attend meetings, collaborate with coteachers, attempt to administer social justice, strengthen depth of knowledge and reasoning ability, teach how to take multiple choice tests, monitor the hallways, break up the occasional spat or fight, collaborate with colleagues and provide advice for new teachers, and prepare my students for career, college, and last but not least to pass the AP exam.
Because, really, kids, I would do anything for you.
Labels: the teaching life