Monday, June 02, 2008

a little perspective

I'll admit it, I lost sight of the big picture.  I have become that teacher.  The one who is just. so. frustrated.  Your lack of effort?  It bothers me.  Please, there are 10 days left.  Could you just learn this last unit so we can all move on?

Friday, I followed a girl into the bathroom.  I wasn't particularly mad, but I did know she was going to the bathroom to text someone and I planned to catch her in the act.  You know, make her feel sheepish, cause some mild embarrassment and confiscate a phone for an hour or two.  Fun teacher stuff. (seriously, I LOVE catching kids with phones and making them live without them for a day.)  I was not expecting her to exit the stall in near hysterics.

What ensued was likely one of the hardest things I've had to deal with yet in my teaching career.  It's certainly something they don't prepare you for in University.  No one tells you what to do when a student comes forth and tells you their friend is being abused, mentally and possibly physically.  That your first reaction will be to want to go find that missing student, to make sure they are okay yourself.  That luckily you are slightly smarter than that and you will simply offer hugs and an escort down to student services because you sure hope they know what to do in such a situation.  That you will feel just as helpless as the teenagers themselves.  That you cannot imagine living with such a burden at 15.

Math seems very unimportant at times like these.  Two of my students have been carrying around this terrible knowledge and feeling of helplessness for 6+ months.  One has been living it.  In my naivete I blamed hormones, spring, turning 16, typical teenage stuff.  It's just all so much bigger than me and my classroom...

1 comment:

bag marla said...

I hear you on this one. It's something I struggle with pretty much every day. It's so easy to get frustrated and so hard to remember that they have a life outside their time with you that may or may not be utterly terrible.

I never feel like I know what to do either, if that makes you feel any better :)