I work in a high school... and yeah, it's gets a little crazy sometimes! Take today for instance, it just seemed like all the kids were in a foul mood; grumpy, touchy, and just their not usual norm. Now part of that could be because I didn't feel very good myself. The Fall allergies are kicking in, and even though I'm taking medicine for it, they've still managed to come in and ruin my day. And I know when I don't feel good then it just seems like everything that can go wrong will!
I don't often have days like that, I really DO like my job and I truly enjoy all the kids that have passed through our doors over the years and some of them I have gotten really close to. Working in the kind of program I do, you're not often exposed to the mainstream kids so much as you are those who are struggling for various reasons and some of those reasons would make anybody grumpy and cranky. But once in awhile you have one of those days where you just want to throw your hands up and say "forget it!". It doesn't seem to matter how much you talk, coddle, pacify, pat on the back, or otherwise use every ounce of mental capacity you have, NOTHING seems to help or work. There are just those days now and then where it seems like all you really do is take one step forward and a whole lot of steps backwards and it can get....well, a little disheartening at times.
You go home at the end of the day and ask yourself why you're even doing this and who really cares whether you do or not! I mean, seriously, does it really matter if you go that umpteenth time to the same behavior and try to explain why it's just not going to benefit them? Does it really matter whether or not you put in the extra time and use that last ounce of patience when the next day everything just gets thrown out the window and you have to start all over again? Does it really matter if you set that math assignment aside and listen while a student tells you about the problems from the night before? Does it make a difference at all to just set back and say, "so what's up?" even though you'll be wishing afterwards you hadn't asked such a loaded question?
I have come to the conclusion that the answer to all of the above questions is this.....YES! Yes it does! Not every kid is going to come up to you and thank you for that few extra minutes of patience you gave them, or tell you that what you said that day during their Junior year stayed with them the rest of their life, but just because they don't tell you doesn't mean it isn't true and that it won't have an impact somewhere later on!
That has been brought home to me on more than one occasion and really so last night. I also do what is referred to as Homebound...when a student is unable to come to the classroom we take the classroom to them. Last year I got the privilege of being asked to do some homebound with a female student in our district. Illness has been a major player in her life, not just in the classroom, but in her whole lifestyle as well. Politcally correct or not, I've become a little attached to her and have really enjoyed our few hours a week when I take her assignments to her.
We began getting to know each other about the middle of the last semester last year and not long after of course, was summer break. While I have seen her a couple of days at school this year, last night was our first night of the homebound session for this new school year. Before I barely had time to set my book bag down she was insisting she had something for me. She's at the computer making a few clicks when I hear a song start to play. I'll admit it took me a minute for it to sink in, but then it dawned on me what the words to the song were saying: "Reunited and it feels so good"!! And again, politically correct or not...I hugged her...a really big hug!! LOL!
Now granted this girl is not my typical student, her battles are more from the physical aspect not the emotional ones, but at the same time I see in her the same potential as I see in my other students; so much that still needs to bloom and go forth, and yet I wonder, will she get that chance? She's smart, witty, and very talented artistically and, like most kids her age, she doesn't see herself in the same light as I do. She under estimates herself all the time and has a hard time accepting what she's capable of doing. I know she doesn't see herself as a fighter, yet she does it every day in some form or other with her illness. She doesn't see herself as "all that smart", yet she spends very little time in a classroom where she would get the instruction and still maintains a high grade point average. Her fine motor skills are somewhat different to most kids, yet she can take a computer mouse and a basic paint application and draw some of the darnedest pictures you've ever seen!
But her greatest talent is her ability to make you smile, oh heck! what am I saying? The girl can have me 'bust up" laughing at least once during every session and more often than not it's several times! Does it really matter? Yes it does! All I have to do on those days when I think I've had enough is think of her and then I realize that no matter how long our journey together might be, though she'll one day graduate and head on with her life like all the rest I hope will do...all of this (I hope!) has made ME a better person. I may be teaching them from a curriculum, but they are teaching me from life. Every day I'm learning to have empathy, sympathy, resilience, endurance, and yes, even patience...a LOT of patience!! :)
I've always believed God puts a person where they need to be....it's up to us what we do with it when we get there. This job I hold today is not at all where I had plans of being 10 years ago and yet, at the same time, it's exactly what I had hoped to be doing...helping our young people. It may be from a different perspective than what I had in mind, but...on most days...I think it's where I'm supposed to be! And when it's all said and done...I also hope it will matter that I was there!