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Two Writing Teachers
A former student accompanied her--another one of the lost souls who roam the hallways of high schools. Now the mother of two children, she speaks to my girl from experience.
"High school stinks. But get through it. It won't matter when you are out. I promise. I talk to those same people now and it's all different."
"I just want to go home," she sniffles.
"Walk with me," I answer.
I put my arm around her and the three of us walk up the hall.
" You matter to me," I tell her. "I want you to be in my class this afternoon. Somewhere, deep inside you, you have to find the courage to ignore them and take care of yourself. I know it's hard. I know you don't want to. Talk to your teachers. Tell them what is going on. Ask them to move you in front of their desk. Stand up for yourself. Don't let them win."
I talked and talked and talked. I hugged. I pleaded. I left her sitting in the counselor's office with her friend. I hoped she would be in class today.
She was. And before she left for the day, she turned to me and said
"Thank-you for talking to me this morning."
I patted her on the shoulder and answered, "Thank-you for making it to class. I'm proud of you."
Sometimes we don't know if what we've said ever sinks in, but every once in awhile, you have a moment like this and we remember why we teach in the first place--the kids.