Wednesday, April 05, 2006




"Thank you for everything"



These words were written to me today on a pass from my student that I wrote about last week. I cannot tell you how happy it made me to see them! He has a long road ahead of him, but the journey has begun.

I was very vague when I mentioned him before and didn't go into details on purpose. Unfortunately, the way everything "went down" was not perfect and much of that is my fault b/c I was caught off-guard . . .

I read the pieces given to me at the very end of the period and was in shock. As the bell was ringing, I handed them back to him and said, "Are we going to talk about these now?" He was surprised that I wanted to talk (um . . . one of the writings ended with, 'If you are reading this, this is my suicide note' and at least five of the pieces was about killing himself). I let him leave my class and go to the next one. Then I contacted his counselor; however, my student had an asthma attack and left school. Not good news for us!

Now, without being able to speak with him first and tell him my concern and professional obligation to say something, we had to contact him and his parents at home in the middle of the school day. Needless to say, it got messy! The parents were upset and most bothered about the abuse he mentioned (they are well-known in the community and their reputation matters). His counselor emphasized that we need to be concerned about him hurting himself and suggested professional counseling.

The next day at school, he didn't speak to me - no surprise. When I found a moment to talk with him that wasn't obvious to the entire class, he expressed that he was upset and that they were "just writings". I was upset and explained to him that I could not take something like that lightly, especially since another student hung himself earlier in the year and had wrote similar things in English class. He understood my concern, but said he would never do that b/c he has a daughter and continued to sulk (that the best word I can think of). This has gone on for a week; I have worried for a week. His counselor told me today that the parents are seeking help for him . . .

"Thank you for everything"

He must have reached out to me for a reason . . . I feel a little better today.

10 comments:

CameraDawktor said...

Good for you. You are a good teacher and we would all want someone caring like you to teach our kids! Although, I know part of it is protecting your ass and obeying the law, but anyway, fine job!

Obviously, it would never have mattered that he appreciated your helping him, but its so wonderful that he did. And gives you good closure. I hope he gets help too. He was probably just embarrassed that his parents knew how he was really feeling. Now its up to them to do something about it. I hope they will, but sometimes its very hard for even the BEST of parents to admit that their child has a problem. And, I am speaking from personal experience!

momyblogR said...

WOW! You are exactly the type person we need in our classrooms.

Yes...."thank you for everything."

stewbie2 said...

Good for you, Al! I'm so proud. :)

Lee said...

that's a scarey situation to be in - but great he's getting some help to deal with his issues, realizing someone cared enough to get involved probably meant a great deal to him :)

Hazel Hazel said...

That is great. You should be proud of yourself.

The Kept Woman said...

Huzzah, huzzah for AL!!!!

Congrats on being in-tune and on top of things. There's no telling what different ending this story might have had.

Bossy♥'s YOU said...

I only hope my kids run across teachers like you:)

I know I ran into very few like that while i was in school..

you rock girl;)

Fantastagirl said...

Okay - just so you know - I've tried commenting 3 different times tonight- and well - it wont let me...

But I'm so glad that you are a teacher that takes time to read what your students write and to read between the lines...."Thank you for Everything"...

I'm glad he can say that.

Anonymous said...

You absolutely did the right thing. Not that you are looking for validation for your decision. That was his way of crying out and of course they were not "just writings". Good Job! I'm glad to know there are teachers out there paying attention to our children and really caring!

J said...

That was me that commented as anonymous. Didn't mean to.