Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I made a student cry.

Goal of the week: Organize. I'm working on it. Yesterday was bad but today will be better.

Thought of the day: I made a student cry.

Yesterday, while my students were reviewing for the test, I got to talking with a student who I refer to in my mind as "the gentleman gangbanger." He's super intelligent and one of those kids that gets into a *bunch* of trouble but is just a wonderful person. I love his company.

He started talking to me about his life. I don't know why the kids do this and it always astounds me that they open up to me about such personal things. I'm so afraid that I will do something to ruin or abuse this wonderful gift of trust that they are giving me.

This poor kid. His life has been filled with pain and death. He was holding strong and was not letting anyone, including me, see how much pain was beneath the surface. He was using that trick that men (yes, older men) use when they are in great pain and they turn their faces 3/4ths away so you can't see how much they are holding onto their faces so they don't lose control. The secret is in how much they are holding onto their faces. Poor baby. It broke my heart and I wanted to cry. Almost everyone in his life has died. Most of his family except his father and brother are dead. Car accident took most of them. His mother was first some time ago. His year it was his girlfriend and his cousin.

He turned away and just said "it makes me wonder sometimes why so many bad things happen. I just have to think if I'm a bad person because these things keep happening to me." Then he stopped talking and looked down.

I needed to say something. I just paused and thought because it needed to be right. It needed to be right. He needed the right thing to make it better.

I told him: "For what it's worth, D----, I know it's not much, but every day when you walk in here I smile. I smile because I love having you in my class. You are a wonderful person and you make me laugh because I think you're great, even when you're exhausted and you just come in and pass out (because that is kinda funny)."
"I know sometimes it's hard. But trust me - sometimes in life the most horrible things happen to the nicest people and you are one of the nicest people. I think you're great. You always make me smile and laugh and I look forward to having you in my class whenever you're here."

Then I got distracted by another student coming up and asking a question and a disruption on the other side of the room. It was 2 minutes before I could look around for D--- again. He wasn't in his seat and I got panicked. I looked around and was worried that I'd said the wrong thing and upset him to where he'd left the room. You have to be careful with students that are in crisis because you don't know what will upset them.

When I looked over, he was over in the back of the room by the trashcan with his back to the room. He was rubbing his eyes very covertly. He stayed back there for a few minutes.

I didn't say anything to him the rest of class and let him have his space. I think he needed it. He is a very strong kid and he needs to maintain that image.

I like that one. I like that one immensely. Please, please, please, whoever is up there and listening, please, please, please... protect that one.

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