I have ultra-awesome superpowers of doom. I can take any innocuous comment and build an entire universe of awful around it. A single phrase in a context-free email can easily be interpreted as "whatever you did is crap and you will likely be fired."
Luckily I followed up my ridiculous reading of said email with a quick note to my admin who
A) sent me an email back disabusing me of my overreactive imaginings
B) hunted me down in person to give me a hug
C) reminded me to come to her right away when I am feeling this way
C) all of the above
I have started both of the last two days with crying jags. Yesterday I called my co-teacher from the lounge to warn her that she would have to start class without me since I couldn't stop crying. There is no why, remember. There is the trigger, but that is not why. The why is just Depression.
Today I went to a meeting focusing on students that we are concerned about. And I became so concerned about several of the students that it triggered another crying jag. Instead of making it to the staff lounge, however, some of my EL kids spotted me in the hallway and needed my help to find a room for PSAT testing.
Because nothing beats taking the PSAT when you have been in the country for just over a year and are reading at the 3rd grade level.
Admin spotted me in the hall and said, "Oh no! Not again..."
But I told her it was just that I was so worried about my students. And she was all reasonable and advised not to borrow trouble and that we can only do what we can for them while they are with us. And that is true.
But I want it not to be true.
I want to be able to fix things. But this wanting doesn't make it so. And the fact that I cannot fix things for my students kind of wrecks me. The more I know about their personal struggles, the more I struggle.
And if I am broken I am no good to anyone.
When I worked with adults I think I did a better job of this. Making my classroom a safe space. Not ever knowing too much about their backgrounds. Now I feel irresponsible for not knowing more. But the more I know, the more precarious of a position I am in.
I had a conversation with Elder Boy today in which I advised him not to run away from home. He thought this was a ridiculous comment and tried to imagine what on earth would make him run away from home.
Well, if your mom smells.
Or if you become a Nazi (which wouldn't make her kick you out of the house even) but she wouldn't let you hold your Hitler Youth rallies in the basement.
He still thought running away would be less preferable to just hiding in his room. I'm with him. Hiding in rooms is awesome. Under beds if possible. In closets if not.
In Japan I had neither a closet nor a bed to hide under... so I had to kind of wriggle underneath my futon. Which was not anywhere near as satisfying.
It's what I did when my host dad was hitting my host brother for not doing his homework fast enough. I had never seen anyone hit a child before. I didn't know what to do. He was nine. I was twenty. I would live in their home for an entire semester.
My teenage host sister was embarrassed and muttered something under her breath by way of apologizing for her dad's behavior. Urusai. Which made him come out and slap her across the face. The mark of his hand red against her skin. The sound hit the side of my skull after bouncing off the walls. Echoing somehow in such a small space.
I only hid.
I only kept my mouth shut.
What should I have done?
I can't fix everything.
I can't fix anything.
And everything is broken.
And I am broken too.
Quaker, teacher, parent,