Wednesday, January 16, 2013
As a teacher, I wear many hats when it comes to my students including: mentor, encourager, protector, motivator, educator, discplinarian, etc.... My students are MINE... from the moment they enter my classroom until the MOMENT they LEAVE our school at the end of their high school career... and some even beyond that. I treat MY students almost like my own.... pushing/pulling/encouraging/re
ally those who are "less likeable/loveable" or those who just need extra support. This year I have several who fall into the latter category! One of these is the cause of my frustration...
This young lady has basically raised herself, she married a year ago at the age of 15, works both before and after school, and still maintains excellent grades. She is a beautiful spirited young lady, who I felt an immediate connection with; as she shared stories (she's in one of my Psychology classes) about her life and the many different trials and tribulations she's dealt with.. her stories were NEVER told in a "woe is me" way.. but more matter of fact and this is what I've learned!!! Anyway, for the past five months she and I have talked and journaled back and forth... during this time.. she has opened up so much and shared her dreams and aspirations with me... (She has great intrinsic motivation, yet shared with me that she doesn't want to let "ME" down... really... "ME"... I let her know that she inspires me each and every day... as she keeps on keeping on when many would give up! One of her goals is go to nursing school!!! She is one of the strongest, most determined students in ANY of my classes this year....
So.. when she missed two days in a row, I was immediately concerned... yesterday when she walked into my room I was elated... yet when I saw the look on her face and heard her say, "Mrs. Shafer we have to talk... I have something to tell you." I knew something was up... I was thinking pregnancy... but no.. she told me yesterday was going to be her last day.. In my disbelief I told her no way , to which she responded by tearing up.. I followed suit... We then stepped outside and had a lengthy discussion... with me doing lots of listening... she feels that she has to get a second job... full time, so she can help her husband... at 16, she doesn't qualify for the GED option, but said when she turns 17 she's signing up... I listened... with tears in my eyes... as I could see nothing I was saying or was going to say was going to change her mind.. she'd been to the counselor... she'd talked with our principal and had signed the papers... we hugged...cried... and went back in... the hour was tough... before she left I gave her my phone number(s)/address/email etc... and reminded that I was always here if she needed anything... She hugged me, looked me straight in the eye and said, "I know Mrs. Shafer, I love you!" and walked away!!!
I am so frustrated because there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop this... to help her.. and others like her.. she is more than a name on a piece of paper... she's our future!!!!