|Wasn't she beautiful?|
The following Monday, at school, I chose to spend my recess inside with a student who needed a bit of a break from 'community'. He'd had a pretty rough time over the weekend and until that point had been almost non-verbal. As soon as everyone else had left he turned and eye balled me pretty fiercely. "You look really sad Mrs R-P. Why?" Pretty insightful. (And a little disappointing because I'd been trying hard to not show my sadness because I didn't want to have to share the story.) I considered the options for my response: should I lie and say everything was fine, brushing off his concern and not reinforcing the positives in his noticing? Should I come up with a pat answer that would explain away my sadness but without the truth? Or should I tell the truth even though doing so would inevitably end in my tears?
In the end, I teared up whilst trying to decide and so didn't really have much of a choice. I told him what had happened, leaving out the gruesome bits he asked for later. And here's the part that broke my heart just as fast as it offered solace... This little guy who had, not five minutes earlier, been non-responsive and unable to engage with anyone put his hand on top of mine and gently whispered "What can I do to make you feel better?" Despite everything that's happened in this little guy's life, his little heart sat there on his face and he showed concern for someone else because their cat died. Oh. Yes. He broke my heart with that comment. And made me so very hopeful for his, and the world's, future.
How was this related to teaching? Well, you won't find me linking it to the AITSL standards because it's more than the standards. It's the heart part of teaching rather than the head; in fact it's what makes the head part possible. It's why I teach.