the toughest days of teaching

The toughest days of teaching
are not necessarily the days of
lessons gone wrong.
Sometimes they are just days
when things are out of your control.
Today I had to say goodbye
to one of my most favorite students.
The girl with a cheery smile,
and a love for school.
We have a pretty tight system
when it comes to attendance at our school.
Miss too many days,
and you’re put on an attendance contract.
Fail to meet it, and you’re out.
Makes clear sense to me.
I have no complaints.
How can you get an education if you’re never there?
And why must the teacher be accountable for
a student’s test scores when they are always absent?
But today,
it hurt my heart when it meant that this sweet girl
would no longer be my student.
It’s tough to be strong
when our 10 year old students
are playing Mommy at home
because her real Mommy
is too busy being a 20 something.
It’s tough to tell a child
that their childhood days are over.
They are now in charge,
even though Mom is supposed to be.
“You are in charge of you,” I said.
“You’re in control of your education.
Don’t let your mom ruin that for you.
Do whatever it takes to get to school.
This is not your fault.”
As I helped her packed her things in her backpack,
and tears rolled down her eyes,
I prayed to God that she’d remember this moment.
Remember how much school meant to her.
So that years down the line,
when things get harder,
she doesn’t quit on her future.
Because obviously her mother already has.
Today was a tough day in teaching.

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