Educators are given a special gift each and every school year. Each year of our teaching career we meet new students and families. One of the most amazing blessings in my life have been the way in which so many of my students have touched my heart. I’m sure that every educator can look back over his or her career and think about all of the students from whom you have learned so much. While we love all of our students, there are always a few who touch our hearts in special ways.
Six years ago I met a little 6 year old boy, he touched my heart because of the pure chaos that was his life. When I met him, I was a working as a full time literacy coach and was completing an internship with my principal for my administrative license. This little boy was troubled. He was angry. He was covered in flea bites and his clothes were dirty. He wore glasses but they were broken. This little boy threw chairs and yelled at his teacher. And his teacher, who is one of the kindest people you have ever met, bought him new glasses and gave him clean clothes. On several occasions this little boy became so angry that my principal had to restrain him. He called Children’s Services in hopes of getting help for this sweet child. This little boy’s teacher and principal tried hard to help make his life better.
The next school year I was at a different school as the principal. However, over the next few years, I often thought about this sad little boy. I wondered what had become of him, and prayed that his life had improved. I hoped and prayed that the system worked for him.
Just yesterday I sat on my living room couch reading his obituary. He was 11 years old. He killed himself.
He had no voice.
The teachers, principals and caring adults in his life tried to give him a voice. The system failed him.
Educators I implore you to continue to be the voice for the voiceless. Fight the fight worth fighting. Our job is so important. Academics are just a small portion of the impact we make in the lives of children. Don’t let our current political debates distract you from the important work that we do each day.
We couldn’t save this child, but hopefully we can learn from this tragedy.
Fight the fight worth fighting.
I hope my blog posts inspire risk taking and new ways of thinking. I hope to connect with other educators on our journey to always do what's best for children.