Shortly after I started at Reddall I met one of my life’s soul mates. We clicked immediately and it was like we’d never not known one another.
We’ve had ebbs and flows throughout the years but have always maintained some form of contact. Like all life friendships will. And to this day, she gets my soul. We can sit for hours and just be; the time flies. I am blessed to have many of these relationships, all fulfilling different parts of me.
Today, at her daughter’s 7th birthday, her dad made some comment about teaching. I came into the part of the conversation where she answered, “Nah, Tina and I will die at Reddall.”
I immediately agreed.
Our job is stressful. We deal with things that teachers in a lot of schools are free from. But every teacher in every school has something unexpected they need to deal with. Unfortunately, our world is imperfect, and whilst our society is blessed, not all of its members are.
I had a huge day Thursday. Only thirty minutes in total where I wasn’t ON. And the things we deal with and resolve after investigation are huge. Thirty minutes no lunch breaks.
One of the situations I was resolving involved one of our kids treating one of my staff members badly on the Wednesday. I caught up with him whilst I was on duty and asked what was going on.
He had had a bad day. He was sorry.
I asked what had made it a bad day.
He told me that it was pay day for his mum. He had been trying to contact her and when he couldn’t, was very worried she’d spent their money on ice. He was relieved to a degree when she was actually putting it through the pokies.
He’s been dealing with this for years.
I asked if they had enough food in the cupboards. He said he could hock his PS4.
He shouldn’t have to.
“It’s okay Miss. There’s enough food. I won’t accept help anyway. I can do this.”
Yep, but he shouldn’t have to.
I love this kid. Always have. He fights against the very low expectations of him to want and achieve more. I hope he succeeds. He deserves to.
So often, people are fighting against demons we cannot see. This conversation reminded me of the importance of having the conversation. Of diving beneath the surface behaviour and of showing compassion. His consequences stand. And he knows that.
But he also knows we care. He knows he is loved. He knows he doesn’t have to do it alone, even though he feels he must.
I hope he succeeds.
One of the reasons I love teaching at my school is the kids whom I adore (most of them anyway). One of the other reasons is the staff. Most of us genuinely care about our kids and would do anything we could to empower them to succeed. We have lots of rough days. More than our fair share at times. But we also have lots of love, lots of laughter, lots of compassion. And together, well, together we make a real difference.