Monday, August 25, 2008

Now I Know

I now know why I am a teacher and not something else. This day was unbelievably packed with things - early morning meeting (on a Monday :-P), more papers to grade with less time, students coming in for help before my meeting, lunch duty, meeting notes to email out, emails that needed an immediate response, and barely time to scarf down lunch. It was a pretty normal day, until lunch duty.
We rotate every three weeks and wander the cafeteria to make sure kids are supervised and putting trash in the bins, etc. I don't mind it too much - it's better than last year where I was outside and bored - at least I get to walk around. About 95% of my kids are in this lunch since it's ALL ninth graders in it - which is good so I can see them in a different setting. One of my boys from 4th period caught my eye and pointed to a boy sitting across from him with his head down. He then mouthed the words "He's crying".
I approached him and introduced myself, then kind of squatted down lower so I could see him better. I asked if he was feeling okay and what was going on. He was upset because he couldn't do his math homework because he didn't understand it and the teacher hadn't given him enough information/examples to work with. So, I sit down (knowing perfectly well if my assistant principal sees me, I'm going to get jumped - and I really don't care - this was infinitely more important) and see what he is working on - I have no clue how to do the work and that is immediately apparent to me. But, we sit and talk about it anyways. I ask my young boy if he can help since I am really at a loss and he agrees. The boy has calmed down at this point, so I go ahead and ask him his name and his teacher's name to see if maybe I can go talk to her (but I did NOT want him to know that - I can't remember the excuse I gave him for getting his teacher's name). We talk and my student begins working with him.
I found another teacher in the cafeteria who IS a math teacher and ask him to please help this young boy - and he does for a few minutes.
I found his math teacher on my way back to my room to eat my lunch and let her know what's going on. She said they were all having problems and the homework was going to now be due on a different day - but this kid has her the following period, so he doesn't know that yet.
This is why I'm a teacher - to help these kids that aren't even mine. Do you have any idea what it took for that boy to break down in tears in the middle of a cafeteria filled with ninth graders - who can be incredibly cruel at this age? My heart was in my throat as I was trying to not cry as I can totally empathize with what this young boy was going through - I was much the same way and to an extent, I still am today.
I'll be checking on him at lunch tomorrow - and the next day, and the next and the next - just to make sure he doesn't slip through the cracks and knows there's at least someone out there who cares.
These are the kids that completely give up - and cause us the most heartache when they leave us unexpectedly.
I won't let that happen to him.

3 Comments:

At 6:37 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger TheVoice said...

You are very sweet to look after your kids like that. wish there were more teachers like you.

 
At 7:38 PM, August 25, 2008, Blogger TheVoice said...

p.s. i added a link to your site

 
At 11:20 AM, September 11, 2008, Blogger Aubs said...

I had a teacher like you when I was in 5th grade and will never forget her. Thanks for what you do for kids...they won't forget.

 

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