I awoke this morning to a chill in the air. I found my arms wrapping themselves around my body to not just provide warmth, but to ward off the chill that came from deep within me. A chill that comes from knowing what lies ahead. And this year I think I am dreading it.
For every year, it is mornings like this, cool dry fall-like mornings, that begin to remind me of how little time I have to prepare myself for the onslaught of the impressionable young minds, bodies and souls I will once again be steward of. Two short weeks and it begins.
I don't know if I am ready this year. I don't know if my heart is restored enough. You see every year there are those students who take a piece of my heart with them. Last year there were more than usual. So many needy kids. Only one of me.
I have worried about one in particular this summer. I spent hours with this kid, not only teaching, but supporting him through one crisis after another. Trying to motivate him in spite of all the hell he was living. It was difficult at its best and shear hell at its worst.
His father recently made the news. I know the boy is devastated. I tried to find this young man at his mother's. It appears she has been evicted once again...if an apt. full of belongings on the curb is a clue. I don't know where he is. My only hope is he will come back to see me.
His story is not unique. It happens all too often in my building and I work in a pretty upper middle class district. As much as people would like to think, education is no longer about reading, writing and arithmetic. It is about supporting these kids where they are so they can learn. And on any given day, who knows where that might be.
I need the summer to heal from the pain these kids live. I need to heal so my heart can be whole to piece out to more needy students. Because as an educator, I can tell you I live their pain with them. If I did not have this break, I would never have the chance to become whole again. There would be nothing left to give.
And while last year was tough, I will be there for this year's crew. I never want to be that educator who cares more about the content than cares about the kid. I always want them to know they come first. I always want them to know there is a piece of my heart for them. I always want to be the one in her car, they chase down the street screaming, " We love you Mrs. .............................."