A Vulnerable Time in School

teach

From five years ago, during the first week back to school, when I taught high school English:

This is a vulnerable time in school. Just getting to know the kids. Some are openly sad. Some are tense and silent. Some are exuberant and happy teens– some with confidence and lots of humor.

Many are vulnerable. They are testing. They are revealing bits. Dropping hints.

I’ve tried to remember not to judge a kid by outward appearances. Arms folded. Lack of eye contact. An angry look. A large young male student. Wait. Wait. He’s older. Three years older. He needs only this class to graduate. He’s embarrassed to be older. A smile today. I get it. I get it I told him. They are kids and you are legally an adult. Be their big brother. Just do the work. Let’s get you graduated.

A smile today.

A vulnerable time. Tender sensibilities. Oh I hope I don’t blow it, kids. You are precious.

And now, five years later, I realize that all the weeks, all the days are vulnerable ones in school.  May we educators always remember that, and treat our students as the precious persons they are.