I know I said life was looking better or less busy. It is. But then it wasn’t. Tragedy struck my school community…some how the statistics came out and touched us. I didn’t know the student. But I see their face. I see it because my students hearts, minds and lives are consumed in it. I didn’t need to know the student because I saw the grief my students were forced to bear.
My own daughters felt the loss because suddenly the “talk” they have every year has a name and a face. Because they saw me come home from school at night with a heavy heart and puffy eyes. It made me feel compelled to have real and meaningful talks with them. I enjoyed looking at how they saw the world. Their innocence intact but some how altered by the reality that life is hard sometimes and sometimes it sucks.
And more grief coming. Lives of my students being derailed and I hurt. I hurt because they do and I wonder if I should teach with less of a heart or wonder if I should just check my heart at the door. But in my classroom it maybe my biggest weakness but it is also my greatest strength. I remind them they matter. If they doubt it I make them look me in the eye and I tell them.
But I realized that my own personal battles in the last two years of coping with my Guy’s TN, brain surgery and my own inner demons was leading me here to this very moment to have these real conversations. The ones that matter. The ones that they need and that I need.
There is that saying that something along the lines that people will forget what you tell them, but they don’t forget the way you make them feel. I try and live that in my classroom. Had I not gone through the last two years I am not sure I could have had the frank and real conversations I have had the last few weeks.
It is so hard for me to convince kids (my own or my students) that my assignments are their priority when they are coping with the toughness in life. They need an adult to admit to them that sometimes life sucks and that it is hard. But the moment you decide to keep going is the strongest you will ever be. I know it because
I lived it. Strike that…I live it.
I am strong because I fought for me. I fought for my family and by doing that I can be there now. My life is far from perfect or even figured out. But I comfortable in my own skin and with my heart.