Today, after one of the math lessons, all the third grade students went outside for structured recess. The state requires so much physical activity in a week, so to meet those standards we take 30 minutes on friday to do a whole group physical activity. The rest of the week that time is spent doing small group interventions. So, we are outside doing a “nature walk” when I notice one of the 3rd grade girls with her head hanging low. I was worried that she was upset about the lesson we just had because she is a very struggling student, and she knows it. Truth is, that may have played a part in it all though she would not admit it.
“Are you ok?” I inquired as we walked in step. She just nodded her head. I could tell that something was up, so I tried again, “Are you sure everything is ok?” Then, she cried. I coaxed her over to the garden area where we could sit in some park benches and proceeded to talk to her in hopes of cheering her up.
“I just miss my Mom!” was her reply as the tears began to fall faster and snot began to mix in.
I could tell that everything in this little girl just wanted her mommy. I’ve been there. It usually happens after something difficult and is all you want is to feel the love and comfort of your mother and/or father. So I dug deeper, “Where is your Mama?”
“She is living with my uncle, and I haven’t seen her in a very long time.”
“Who are you living with?”
“My Meme,” which would be her Grandma for those who aren’t familiar with southern names for different grandparents.
In that moment, all I wanted to do was hold her like a mother would. I wanted to wrap her my arms and tell her everything would be alright. Yet, I also knew those were just pat answers because I didn’t know what to say and because I wanted to fix something broken. So I simply told her that I love her and that I am sorry life is the way it is and that I hope she sees her Mom soon.
And this, my friends is why I teach. We live in a broken world. No matter where I go there are kids who need a Mom or Father figure in their life. Someone to hold them and love them. So many kids have no stability at home, and, like one of the third grade teachers said, the school is their stability. As a teacher, I have the great opportunity to let them know that they are loved, and if I am truly lucky, the opportunity to let them know that God is waiting for them to call on Him. I have the opportunity to daily shine the love, grace, and mercy of Christ into the lives of children who are in need. I can’t solve their problems, but I can let them know that someone cares enough to help bring them through it.