It always happens. At some magical point in the year – when I least expect it – my students suddenly feel the power of story telling with pictures. They draw, they name the parts of their pictures, they bring them to me with pride and they want me to know – everything about their picture.
Today it happened. It was not a day I thought it would happen. We had had some melt downs, discipline problems, a schedule crunch – and barely time to draw. Instead of paper, I was passing out whiteboards hoping for something before we had to head for lunch.
And here comes Markus with his board for me to put up the way I always do but he says, “Will you take a picture of it? Look, I drew my apartment and me. Look there are my stairs.”
You bet, Markus. I took a picture.
And then it was Lukas with a family portrait.
Fred taught Aiden how to trace his hand and turn it into a bird – jimminy cricket – was that something he learned at his other school last November?
And here is Wendy’s picture of a bunny. Usually she erases her work or pitches it into recycling – she must really be proud of this one.
Dear Child Protective Service employee,
I can’t imagine doing the work you do but every time I’m faced with a family or child who is going to be checked out by you, I think about it.
So I just want you to realize you kind of blew into my school today, scared our secretary and hovered rather fiercely above my students at lunch time. I know – you were on a mission to talk to a four year old, and I know, time was short because he was about to get on a bus for daycare. But this is a very young child already wary of adults and made anxious by change.
Most people who work with children know to smile, kneel to be at their height, and say who they are. You did finally introduce yourself to me and you were right to acknowledge the fact that not wanting to go to a stranger was a good thing. And I did notice you warm up a bit when you realized you were going to have to change your plans. Telling the child you would talk to his mom and arrange a meeting was a good idea.
I hope that meeting accomplishes something. As I said before, I wouldn’t want your job for all the tea in China. But I do want you to know that as a teacher, I really am an ally looking out for the safety and welfare of children. So please, could you just try to act like we’re on the same team next time?
Thanks, and don’t take this the wrong way but —- I hope we don’t meet again.
It was a chance moment to debrief. I stopped by my church to chat with the Minister of Christian Ed about some work we are doing together and I ended up telling her about the home visit I had just emerged from.
Visiting this home is like having my face pushed into a dark, moist blanket. I can’t breathe, I feel despair, I just want to yank my head out and breathe fresh air and sunlight. I can’t imagine living this feeling every day, all day.
Talking to Sharry helped me find my way out of the darkness, remember hope and smile again.
I came home and changed my clothes.