I would like to respond to a post I read a few months back by Marilyn Rhames, a science teacher in Chicago. It touched me on such a personal level, that I wanted to share it with my followers.A few days before I came across her post, I was sitting on the cold, hard tiled floor, in the middle of a never ending hallway, at the school where I teach. I was staring into the eyes of a seven year old who was pinned by three staff members, cheek pressed to the floor, arms pulled back behind his back, eyes darting side to side. His mind had entered the flight or fight response mode when he was faced with a challenge to hard to handle. Therefore, he had landed in this predicament. I remember thinking to myself as I searched deep into his eyes; hoping to pull him out of his hiding place, how much of this will he remember? What will he think as this incident invades his memory as a young adult? That night, I went home and wept. A week later, I stumbled across this post.
Marilyn writes about a time in the beginning of her career. A time, when she joined in with her colleagues to share her horror stories about students she had already encountered. A Social Studies teacher, in his late 30’s, had been listening quietly as they shared many stories in hopes to outdo the other. He silenced them with four words that he spoke, “It happened to them”.
He continued to say that teachers tell the stories as if IT is some kind of entertainment, but IT happened to the child. The child is the one who will remember it 30 years later with tears in their eyes. Marilyn continues to share the impact the four words spoken that day had on her. She knows that she has to be the child’s advocate and stand up for what she believes is right for all children!
Wow! What a reminder to all educators. Every child that walks through our classroom door will be molded by every experience we push upon them and how long and hard we hold onto their hand, as they work through the challenges in their lives. Each fragile child is not just another chapter in our book, but a human life that will continue to live life beyond our four walls. It is our job to be their educator, their voice, not our job to be our colleagues’ entertainment or a robot programmed to do what the programmer has designed, especially if the design was not made with the child’s best interest in mind.I encourage you to read Marilyn’s post titled “Haunting Words to Inspire Every Teacher”. I know that you will enjoy it and become inspired just as I have.