Saturday, October 18, 2008

This really resonated with me

Read it!

I think what really strikes me was Allan's observation:

while all persons are ultimately responsible for what they make of their lives, I could not help but think how this young man's life would be different had his home-life been different.

It's chilling, because as teachers, we know it's true.

Sometimes I feel so powerless.


Mrs. Chili said...

Thinking about it in purely secular terms (because I am, after all, a purely secular person), I have to tell you that, even if you don't REALIZE you make a difference, you probably do.

I came from a dysfunctional home and could very well have ended up like that boy in the story. What was different for me, though, was the fact that there were adults - outside of my family circle - who noticed me. Teachers asked how I was doing. The secretary in the office noticed when I was missing from classes and called after me. Everyone KNEW that my home life was bordering on unbearable, but no one pressed the issue; they just made sure that I knew that I was safe and cared for in school.

Since my own experience, I have made it my mission as a professional to make sure that my classrooms are safe and welcoming places, and to let my students know that I'm available to them inside AND outside of class. Yes, I probably put myself out there more than most people would think prudent, but I don't care. If my constant, reliable presence makes a difference in just ONE kid's life, - whether I'M aware of that difference at the time or not - it will be worth the risk of being thought of as a little 'too caring' (as if such were a bad thing). I have a maternal love for all of my students, and I'm not afraid for them to know that.

The Science Goddess said...

Adults are responsible for what we make of our own lives.


Yes, they have certain responsibilities, too---but as adults, we have to understand that we all need to do our best to help kids reach a happy and healthy adulthood so they can make their own choices.

As teachers, we often have no say over what happens in our students' homes---but we do have a powerful voice for those hours children are at school. This is where we make it count.

HappyChyck said...

Absolutely true on your point. We see students like this all the time, and we do what we can to help them, but sometimes we are so powerless against the force of a bad home life. Compassion counts for something, and the best we can hope for is that it helps someone in any small or big way.

Melissa B. said...

It's the old "Nature vs. Nurture" argument. Have you read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote? Perry, one of the murderers featured in that classic, is a classic example of this kind of situation. On a lighter note, BTW, it's Sunday again! Don't forget my Silly Sunday Sweepstakes-you always have something funny to say!

Clix said...

Chili: Thanks for that personal story! I've had a few students that I know I've made a difference with. But while I know, logically, that I'll never be able to do "enough" because it's impossible to reach everyone, I can't help wondering, sometimes, whether in some cases I couldn't've done more.

SG: You're so right. I try to make my classroom a comfortable, safe place. And I always try to model "kindness - no matter what" as well as requesting it from my students.

Happychyck: Exactly. We do what we can, and I pray it's enough. Sometimes it is - sometimes it's not.

Melissa: Haven't read that - but I did caption your photo!

whynot42 said...


Will not claim to have had as "disfuncitional" of a family life as written about- but; I was one of the first in my high school to experience the "revolution" in the demise of covenant marriage. i.e. "child of divorce".

Once, way back when I was attending high school- There was an event in my biology class that prompted me to tell the teacher that some of the students had placed pig guts on my chair(ha ha very funny) and I was leaving the classroom. I informed the teacher that I would be spending the remainder of the hour in the pricipals office, so as not to get in trouble for wandering the halls, or having a cig in the bathroom.

Upon arriving in the office, I told the asst. principal why I was there. He took me into his office. He proceeded to ask permission to get personal. He had made the observation that he had seen me for about 4 years around school- not causing any trouble: yet- not ever really "getting involved" either. "Why was that?" he asked. My response, "Well- let me ask you a question. If you noticed all of this, why is it that this is the first time you have spoken to me in four years?"

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