Wednesday, June 8, 2016

One Thing They Don't Tell You

One thing they don't tell you when you're studying to become a teacher is that one of your students will be arrested and charged with first degree murder, and when you find out, all you can think is, “Him? No. That can’t be right. He was a sweet kid. Always hung out in my class during lunch.” But you look it up, and it’s true.

And a few months later one of your students will be arrested for throwing bricks off an overpass, which is hilarious, but not really, because he was a bright kid, and now he's in jail too, and his life is ruined, and there’s nothing you can do.

And they don't tell you that one of your students will die in a tragic car accident - two years after surviving cancer, three days before receiving his diploma - and you’ll cry on the way to school, but you’ll put on a brave face before walking into the building because being a teacher means pulling it together for the students that need you.

Being a teacher means spending your whole Christmas break worried about a student who always wanted to join the military until he found out that he can't join the military because his parents brought him to this country illegally when he was a baby, and he is so upset that he skipped class and sat in your room during your planning period, saying nothing for ninety minutes because Latino men don't cry.

Being a teacher means holding your student while she weeps after her grandma died, and you cry a little too because she's sad, but also because when she broke down in math class and they asked her what she needed, she said you.

One thing they tell you when you’re studying to be a teacher is not to let your students hug you, no touching, a pat on the back is fine, a side hug if you need to, but not a true hug with both arms, it’s asking for trouble. But being a teacher means letting your students hug you anyway on the last day of school because they love you and you love them.
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