Awestruck and Saddened

Parent-teacher conferences were this week, and I’m exhausted. Whew!

I love meeting the parents and figuring out ways to assist the students, but I also just get worn down. It’s an intense process of a series 3-4 hour meetings after teaching each day.

However, what strikes me the most every year is how much my students have gone through in their young lives: beatings, emotional abuse, rapes, gangs, disorders, living with grandparents, death, loss, and more.

I heard a fellow colleague wondering why a certain student “even comes to school,” and after talking to his grandmother I think his showing up is a minor victory. His father is finally out of the picture (grandma won in court), his sister is back in rehab, his bruises are healing, and he’s finally eating three meals a day. School is a safe haven–not a place where he may be successful if measured by grades–and he attends for a semblance of normalcy, safety, and positive social interaction.

Not every student is going to be a Horatio Alger story, and I wonder how these students will function in the future. Where will they find success?

2 thoughts on “Awestruck and Saddened

  1. Chris Eacho

    I know stories like that. No matter how many you hear, you never stop feeling terribly for these kids. Some of them have been through more in a few years than many of us will go through in a lifetime. The one constant in the lives of many kids is school. I sometimes remind a student who is struggling in school due to serious problems outside of school that s/he has no control over mom, dad, sister, grandma, etc., but s/he does have control over how s/he does in school. It is superficial advice, but some kids cling to it and make school an area to thrive (others look at me like I’m and idiot, and I can’t blame them).


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