Once in awhile you feel you reach someone, you give them the ideological nonsense and wisdom in your head to make them want to reach for the brass ring. I did that, all year, and even reached out to others to help this students dreams come true. Then he chose to fail. Right in front of my eyes just stop wanting, caring, or trying. And he let me know in an email to what he calls me “Moms.” He got sucked back into the world of his family with just a few more weeks left to go, he was almost there. Almost. GCC full-ride with work-study with the coach and a full load of classes. Gone.
I failed. Or that is how it feels, once again all the feelings of failure as a little girl growing up co-dependent come back, but this time a tad smarter…just shook my head and went on, still with a knife in my heart…but not my problem. No, not at all. If it was that easy to let go. If only it was. Note to all future teachers if you hail from co-dependent tendencies become anything but a teacher, it hurts too much and obviously the pay does not heal the heart. For me it is too late, and frankly my love of teaching overrides all of my past wounds, but the feeling of a student just giving up is absolutely sickening.
Oh, I am sure there is more to the story that I will never know, I only got the excuses…being kicked out of the house, no one to drive him to a USTAF track meet and thus giving up a scholarship. Something does not smell right, but all I see is the quitting. Then I start thinking and that is a dangerous game, was I lied to…or just does he truly live in the most awful situation in existence? Who does not drive their child somewhere, who kicks them out for absolutely no reason (this would be the second time, thank you), who ignores one son and sings all hail to the chief to the other son…who does this? Parents who cannot parent, do not want to parent, or do not want to be bothered by the extra that comes with a child with a talent or at least a dream. But I digress. This is not a parenting blog, and I am truly no expert.
So today I must move on with a knife in my heart and allow the pain to subside and then leave me comfortably numb, which is the state I prefer once August rolls around. Never quite getting there, but something that in a low socio-economic status school with difficult students is a state of being that would allow me to survive with less wounds. Never attained this state, but I am tending to wear them well as the years go by, and now realizing my desired state of bliss is probably just a dream-like fantasy. These are the same kids I adore, who need a softy like me, but hurt me day in and day out. My heart always a few sizes larger than my brain, I cannot grapple with the idea of why not my kids…why can’t they have it all.
It always comes down to parents, family situations, how many family members in jail, or how many times they have been in juvenile detention, or the working during school to put food on the table or help pay the monthly bills. Not extras, but living. If I could only block out their real lives, they could have a life, but with cards stacked against them before they enter it is only for a few to rise to the top, and those are the ones with a normal family structure and desire or lack of fear to leave their comfort zone.
Days like this I want to run to the nearest helicopter school and apply, and while these kiddos still go through pain, it is different, it is relatable, it is todays normal, so to speak. What I see is horrific on a regular basis and frankly do not know how many more years I can do this? How many more years of terror can I see? But the one thing that brings me back from the brink every year is a student(s) that you want to pour your heart into to watch them get a life that is past their dreams.
That is what brings me back, that is keeps me
going. That is why I teach. Today is just harder. Today hurts. Today I failed.
As of today…no word on this student. I now don’t consider it a failure but growth for me and a huge chance for him that he was not ready for…