My principal emailed me last week and said she added another student to my roster. ‘But come talk to me when you get a chance. I have to tell you her story.’ And I replied, ‘You know I love kids with stories!’
Rewind seven years.
I was a first-year teacher. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, convinced I was going to implement everything I had learned in school and saw on Pinterest perfectly. It didn’t take long to realize the goal of the year was to survive. And not let the children kill each other.
And let’s talk about this for a minute. Why in all of God’s green earth, do they give first-year teachers THE. WORST. CLASSES? For the life of me, I will never understand it. Thinking back, regardless of my inexperienced classroom management, that class would have sent the most experienced teacher to her grave. It was hard.
I made it through October, you know that’s saying a lot, and me and my first-year class were finally dancing smoothly together. We had established a community of learners and I felt like they were starting to listen to me. Right when things started to become manageable…
He interrupted our Thanksgiving Feast.
I’m sure she saw the terror in my eyes. The office lady handed me a stack of papers and leaned in to whisper, ‘The guidance counselor will be in here shortly.’
He just stood there. Looking up at me with his big, empty, chocolate eyes. In that moment it was as if the Lord allowed me for a second to peek into his soul. I knew he came with a story. And I knew I was there in that classroom, at that moment, for him.
The weeks that followed were somewhat of a blur. I don’t remember anything else about my first year, except for him (and a terrible puke experience. Let’s just say the janitor not only cleaned the floor but handled the situation too).
He stole my heart. And my patience. And my temper. But mostly my heart.
He moved from another state because he had witnessed his dad being murdered. Basically, a drug deal had gone wrong, and his little eyes were the ones who saw. He had severe behavior problems. Wouldn’t you?