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?
Mrs. Beach Bride says
My dad teaches emotionally handicapped kids (PE to the whole school and History to high schoolers)and has for thirty years. He still has moments where he breaks down at home and cries for his students and their situation. He totally loves his job. You make a difference!
Tracy-Girl @ Then I Got To Thinking says
My sister is a 4th grade teacher to kids who come from a similar situation. Each year, she gets them pencils and a book to make sure they get something… but as a teacher it’s hard to do that. Just know that YOU are making a difference to them. YOU care about them & have their best interest. Keep doing what you are doing, there are few people like you who have the desire to be in the environment with them. My husband and I sponsored 8 kids from the local crisis home and today while I was shopping for all of them – I nearly broke down. They asked for socks, sweatshirts, PJs… but it will make a difference.
My best friend who is currently working in DC taught at a high needs elementary school in St. Louis. She encountered the same things you do and it was very hard for her, too. She was shocked when there was a shooting literally in the parking lot of the school. I think what you need to remember that you are providing those kids with a safe place. For 8 hours a day they know they are coming to you and will be safe, fed, warmed/cooled and comfortable…not to mention entertained and educated. You are making a difference.
I can imagine that your heart breaks for them daily…especially around this time of year. But just remember how happy they are when they are with you.
You are an amazing lady, Mrs. Bear!!!! I salute you for working such a demanding job!
I’m in the human services field and can totally identify. Hang in there. You are making such a difference in these lives. More than you know. It’s only natural that they leave an imprint on your heart too. I still think of children that I worked with 8 years ago.
That is so heartbreaking. And I can’t even imagine the stories that you must hear. You are an amazing teacher, and an amazing role model for these sweet kiddos and they will remember you forever.
*Hugs* to you… hope there are no more tears for you!
I went to Baltimore City public schools my entire life, and I didn’t consider it a bad environment or really notice how bad it was until I got to high school in 2000. Definitely an eye opener. But I am incredibly grateful for the handful of teachers who care(d) and did/do their hardest to make sure that the students learn and have that safe place, even if it is only for a few hours a day. So even if you never hear it from one of your students, know that you are making a difference and thank you from me.
Momma Drees says
My mom is a special education teacher in a rural area – that doesn’t think the parents need to do anything, and that everything is the teachers fault. But she is passionate about those kids, and helping them work through their educational barriers.
I agree with everyone else – keep doing what you are doing, you have a passion for this! We can tell! It sounds like they enjoy being there with you, and are some sort of stable, consistent in their lives. And most likely is the only stable consistent they know.
Mrs. Ruby says
I am so touched. And your students are even more so! You make a difference every day…even when it feels like there’s no hope. Hang in there, and try your best. That is all that can ever be asked of you. In the meantime, you MUST always know that YOU are leaving an imprint on their little hearts.
gold star gift bags says
That deserves to be fulfilled.A lots of people chose to buy and sell memorabilia as part of a fun hobby. It’s quite unique.