|The Slice of Life Challenge is hosted by TWO WRITING TEACHERS|
“So, Christy, what else do I need to know about ISAT testing?” asks a teacher new to our building.
Just at that moment, a student walks up to talk to me. Immediately, she shrinks back, realizing she almost interrupted two teachers.
“Oh, go ahead,” the other teacher encourages her, noticing how polite she is trying to be.
“Oh, no, my question is not important. I can wait,” the student offers.
“Not important? Everything you have to say is important,” the teacher encourages.
“Well, actually I just wanted to talk to Mrs. Rush about something. So, I’ll wait.”
“Okay, then. I’ll just take two minutes,” says the teacher.
I hurry to remember what I just went over with the new teacher I am mentoring to provide him with the highlights as quickly as possible. When I am finished, the teacher walks away and I turn to the student.
“Can I talk to you in private?” she asks me.
“Of course, come on in,” I lead her into my classroom.
These moments always seize my chest. I brace myself, hoping this is not bad news.
“Mrs. Rush, I have an awkward question to ask, but I am not sure who else to go to. I think I can talk to you. If this makes you feel awkward, just tell me and I will leave and forget about it.” Although I am charmed by her vulnerability and openness, I am growing more and more uneasy.
I try not to show my hesitation. I nod and smile in response, encouraging her to share. However, I inside I am beginning to panic a little, running through every similar exchange I have ever had with a student… confiding abuse, confessing self-harm, complaining about another staff member… this is not looking good.
She shifts the weight of her books from one arm to another, and bursts out, “What do you do when you like someone and you haven’t told anyone, but then your friend starts talking about liking that very same person?”
Phew. I almost feel guilty for breathing a sigh of relief over her pain. Have I mentioned I love teaching middle school?
p.s. Is it terrible if, after discovering the “friend” is not someone she trusts enough to be honest with, my advice involved stealing the guy out from under the “friend”?