I Will Be There
By Anonymous BAT
The last few years have been discouraging and draining as we fight for the integrity of our profession and an institution that reformers see as nothing more than untapped revenue. I'm frighteningly close to throwing in the towel. Today, though, I was reminded of why I became a teacher. Tomorrow, for the first time in 22 years of teaching, I will attend the funeral of the mother of one of my fifth grade students. She passed away suddenly. My student has no contact with his father, and will be living with grandma, who will be moving down here shortly. I asked him a couple of days ago if he wanted me to go to the funeral or if he would rather I not. I was worried that he might feel uncomfortable with his teacher there, so I wanted it to be his choice. He said he would like it if I went.
Today, he must have checked with me 20 times to make sure I would still be going. His last request for reassurance came as we were leaving. I sighed, trying to hide my exasperation at being asked the same question again, when I had an epiphany. I am the only stable thing in this child's life right now. The enormity of that thought settled on me and I felt the weight of this child's life on my shoulders. I managed to get everyone out to the buses before bursting into tears and weeping for my student, who has known more pain in his 12 years than most adults know in their entire life. I will be there for him tomorrow in whatever capacity he needs me. And that bond, which no one but my fellow educators truly understands, is why I teach.