I had a job interview today with what is called an “alternative classroom”. Going in, I didn’t have a lot of understanding about what really went on at the school. About 20 minutes into the interview I started to think to myself that I had gotten WAY over my head! One of the three people sitting in with me, someone I would be teaching with, was retelling a time where one of the students was so upset that they were in her face holding a butter knife to her head/eye. YIKES! What was I getting myself into?! I started to rethink this whole job thing and was half ready to say “Thank you for your time but this isn’t for me”
Then I was asked to tell what I wanted to get out of this job. Well, since my pre-conceived understanding of the job was just thrown out the window and a new horror film was playing in my head, I had to take a minute to think. Then it hit me: I remember a few years back to a summer camp I had been a leader at. There was one girl who was a little monster all week because she didn’t want to let herself have fun. Then on the last day, she threw a HUGE FIT because she didn’t want to go home. She came from a broken home and you could tell there was some emotional damage starting to form on this sweet 8 year old girl. Fast forward to my first day of teacher’s college placement. A girl runs up to me and says “HI! Do you remember me?!” And looking at this little face, now 11 years old my mind clicked! It was the same little girl!! She gives me a HUGE hug and says “I’m doing so much better now!” and she was! OH how my heart breaks thinking about her. She was placed into a special program at the school, having to take a taxi every day to and from since it wasn’t in her district. She was loved and supported and was growing into an amazing young woman.
As I told that story and how that’s what I would want to get out of being part of this school, I was a little shocked that I was getting emotional just talking about it – something that I hadn’t even thought of in 3 years. I think to myself: how would her life have been any different if her family was different. She was raised by a single mother who had at least 3 different boyfriends the year that I knew her. Her older sister, while trying to be supportive for her, was also trying to navigate life with no real support system. This little girl grew so angry at the world as a wall to keep everyone out. This is the type of child I would be dealing with every day if I get this job. Which now I’m really hoping I do! I am SO intimidated by it, and know I am going to have to force myself out of my comfort zone and stand up to these teenagers. But the rewards will be glorious! To make that bond with someone who after they have treated you horribly, and shouted and kicked and thrown a lamp at you (oo yes she did!) that she can wlak up to you and say “look at me! I am doing better!” and take so much pride in that.
I thank God every day that I have my parents. They loved me and cherished me as I grew up into this human who has the capacity to love others and show love to others. I can’t even imagine the pain the students at this school are feeling. Or what would have happened to make them turn out this way. I hope that I get the chance to know them, and work with them, and to show them that they are lovable and they are worthy of happiness.