Saturday, May 14, 2016

Feelin' Like the HANG IN THERE Kitten

To say that I have felt frazzled this week would be a gross understatement.  If social media is any indicator I am not the only educator who is hanging on by a thin, tattered thread.  I have been guilty of being absorbed in my own "must be done" tasks to stop, look up, and connect in a meaningful way with students.    

We (I) need to remember that our students are frazzled too.  May is the most volatile month in schools as the stress from the school year comes to a head.  The number of fights, arrests, suspensions, and expulsions increase drastically during this time of the school year.  It is because of this that we, as educators, despite our own stress, need to be extra vigilant in slowing down, looking up, and truly seeing the students we serve.

In my district, Seniors have only 3 days left and there are only seven days left for the rest of us.  The pressure of final exams, final projects, the uncertainty of life after high school for our Seniors, combined with the everyday teenage angst, has the stress level among students at a breaking point.  

In the past two weeks I have had students talk to me about personal struggles that have them on the the verge of full blown emotional breakdowns.

One student feels his entire life has fallen apart.  The dream he has had for his future since he was 3 years old is no longer a possibility and he is at a loss as to what he is to do with his life now.

Another student lost their best friend, the dog that has been their constant companion since they were a toddler.  My dog died this week too. We sat in the back of the library and cried together. 

Another student got less than stellar results back from her college entrance exams AND her parents are kicking her out after graduation.

These are just a few of the stories I know. Not all kids will be so obvious and confide in a trusted adult as to the stresses they are under.

It's because of this that we need to make a concerted effort to be more aware these last few days- look up, stop grading papers, paste a smile on our faces, and share a smile with our students. 

Together we will end the year doing a "happy dance"!


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