I hadn't planned to return to this subject, but last Sunday (Feb 23) I received terrible news. The worst part of being a teacher is learning that something bad has happened to a student you care about.
John is a great student. He is full of energy and enthusiasm, and always smiled. He was a leader on the school improv team, a rising leader in the drama department, and was one of two students who signed up to be a student aide for me next year. While riding his bicycle (with a helmet), John was struck by a car. He has been in three hospitals since then, and has still not regained consciousness. The latest prognosis indicates that there is a chance he might never regain full use of his arms and legs.
This tragedy has shaken my program, especially myself. In my last post I mentioned how teens sometimes dealt with crises in surprising ways, often by hiding their true feelings. This issue seems to have hit closer to home with them, and in a way the roles have been reversed. I have to channel my emotions and stay positive, while many of the students are more visibly distraught. The improv team put on a show last Thursday to help raise money for John's family. It was moving to watch.
Perhaps this crisis hurt more students because they knew John so well. Perhaps it reminds us of the fragility of life. How the students continue to deal with crises shows me how strong they are, and reminds me of how strong I must be as well.