He spoke up for the wrongfully accused and got a fist. Although his classmates stood up for him and an unjustified reaction, he couldn’t control his emotions. When the perpetrator returned to class, after meeting with the teachers, he stormed out, in tears. I followed. I grabbed his shoulder and tried to calm him down. He gasped for breath between sobs but I refused to leave until the breaths returned to a normal pace. He eventually came back to class.
It was the next class, although a weekend elapsed, that I was running from the school grounds in tears. His class pushed me to my brink and all that I gave up for this job taunted me. Outside the school grounds, I picked up a rock and hauled it as far as I could, giving me a tiny outlet for my emotion. He came out after me. He called me name and I wanted to scream, but I knew it wasn’t his fault. He grabbed my hand and led me back to class. I let my eyes full as I returned to face the class and figure out how to continue after this.
Family is those people who we can scream at one minute and then grab their hand the next. They see our best and our worst. They forgive us when we can’t for give ourselves. We can move past outbursts because the deep love was there first.
My students are part of my job and they shouldn’t see me like this. They shouldn’t have to deal with my anger, even when it is them or something else at the source. But they do. They also feel my love, the kind I shouldn’t show at work. They make me dance and giggle as if I may actually be having fun.
They do because this isn’t work. These kids mean something more, even on the days they drive me to tears and act in ways that deliver hours of guilt and shame. I didn’t give up two years and time with my loved ones for some job. This is not some job and they are not part of it. They are my life, a family I stepped into without the slightest inclination of its impact, the bad or the good.