Monday, October 18, 2010

Oh, Junior High

A few funny anecdotes from the past few weeks that I know were funnier in the moment, but I don't want to forget them:

A student in one of my math classes had reached the end of her rope when shen looked up at me with exasperation and stated,"You, like, expect us to be math heroes!"

A random intercom announcement from this week: "Please jump down from your perch on the windowsill."

I told a student that he was talking over me and he retorted, "No, I'm not. I'm talking under you..."

A student recently made a comment that sadly denoted the failing struggle the family is having in this modern world: A fellow teacher was married recently and had changed her name. She and a student were discussing her marriage when he said, "Do you live together?"
She laughed and said, "Of course we live together...we're married."
He sadly replied, "Yeah, but lots of people are married and they don't live together..."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thank You

Thanks for your comments, those of you who offered advice. And to those who just offered comfort. I feel almost stupid because I hardly know these girls, but again, the affect on my students has been dramatic which directly affects me. Today was the first day that I actually had my own students (I only teach English on B days) and it was very difficult. I prayed for the right words to say. I was so nervous, not knowing how to address the students in my room, some of whom were already sobbing.
Our student body officers were great and in announcements they played the girl's favorite song and then had a moment of silence. I was doing great until that point. Strong, slightly removed, but then they played Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up." Unfortunately, music has always had a major impact on my emotional status and that powerful song, a song about Heavenly Father's ability to raise us high, resulted in tears. . .just in time for me to get up and address the class. So I went up with tears streaming down my face, hardly able to speak words, and I could see almost every student in my class was crying, even the tough boys in the back. Despite how awful this is, I can see that this event will strengthen our classroom. We all have some sort of bond...something we can connect to. But oh, man...looking at those tear-stained faces, I just didn't know how to help. But then I began to speak and I don't even remember what I said, but I felt so much better, I feel so much better. And I think I might have said the right things too...something about a tragedy, how she will be missed...but I also talked about compassion for the girl driving.
It seems that now that we have addressed the grief straight on, we can go on with life, remembering both girls. But I feel do you say, "Okay, now set aside your sadness...we have work to do?" I guess I need to find a balance. We'll see how it goes...their personal writing time is almost up...

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I'm sorry I have been MIA in the blogging world. I promise to be better and this weekend I will post a catch-up post. But something happened today and I just needed to get my emotions out. I'm not by my journal so I needed an outlet. You happen to be it. I'm not very eloquent about grief so bear with me as I put my feelings on the page.

This morning, a student from the school where I teach died in a car accident. She was waiting for the bus when another girl, driving a car without permission or driver's license, hit her. Both girls were only 13 years old...13. I didn't know either of them, but the shock to the school, to the students and to the faculty has been dramatic. It feels like a dark, heavy cloud has come over the school and is pressing down on everyone. I couldn't believe how much the loss affected me personally. As I said, I didn't know either girl, but as I watched my own students struggle with this tragedy, I just wanted to wrap them up in a big hug, cry a few tears with them and take away the grief. Instead, I watched as a bystander, not knowing what to do to help, yet wanting to help so badly. As I watched and felt useless, I kept wondering why I felt so awful, so sad. And the more that I thought about the affects of this loss, the more I realized that my school is such a tight-knit community and a loss, no matter how well or little I knew the student, is still a terrible loss for us as a school. It made me recognize and feel grateful for such a wonderful school to be part of.

And yet this was still a major trajedy, a double tragedy. For the family and friends of the girl who died, their pain is intense and their loss very real. But I also feel immense pity for the girl driving the car. From what my fellow teachers have said, this girl was a sweetheart. She made good decisions and treated everyone well. They were shocked to learn that the driver in the accident was this girl. Unfortunately, she made one bad decision, one single moment of irresponsible thinking, that led to an accidental death, a death that she will have to live with for the rest of her life. So not only was today about mourning for a student who passed away, but it was also about a student who just lost the life she knew. She accidentaly took the life of another and consequently will never be the same nor will the lives of those involved ever be the same.

So to sum, today sucks.