For those of you that don’t know, I teach at a high needs elementary school in a low income community. My children have home lives I never really knew existed…or wanted to believe existed. Up until now, I have kept my emotions in check when it comes to the reality of what my kiddies experience outside of the classroom – what kind of drug deals/violence they see on the streets, who isn’t there to tuck them in at night, how they have to wash their own clothes in the sink b/c that’s the only way they will have something clean to wear to school… I could go on and on, but I won’t, because I will start to cry and I’ve done enough of that today.
I was warned that I would hit a wall – I was warned I would have one of those days where I question my decision to teach in these conditions – I was warned that I would hear things I would not believe could be true.
A warning was not enough.
I cried for the first time today… like really cried. I almost lost it in the office when my principal asked what was wrong (I guess she saw it in my face), but I was able to run to my classroom before the waterworks started flowing. I don’t know how I will ever get to used this – get used to knowing that my sweet little angels see and hear things sweet little angels should never encounter.
I was told that some day I will become “numb” to all of this – that I won’t cry thinking my students may stop believing in Santa Clause this year because he doesn’t come to their house. I sort of don’t want to become numb for the mere fact that it means I will stop feeling – I will stop caring – and I don’t want that.
Being a teacher is what I have always wanted to be … I just didn’t know that being a teacher means suddenly having 17 little people imprinted on your heart.
Are there any teachers out there who work in a community like this?