The bell rings on a typical Tuesday morning and the sound of students fills the hall outside my classroom – second period is about to begin. I wonder if SHE is here. If you teach, I’m sure you know who SHE is.
SHE is the student who is difficult.
SHE is the student who isn’t very kind to others.
SHE is the student who I have never understood.
SHE is the student who has so much potential…
At just that moment, I hear the familiar sound of that booming voice and her feet plodding through the doorway. SHE has arrived.
At the start, it seemed as though today was going to be like every other day – and in fact the class started and ended just the way I would have expected. SHE talked the ENTIRE time and made it difficult for everyone around her to complete the task that we had before us that day…poetry.
I assumed that just like any other day, SHE hadn’t completed her assignment.
But, I was wrong.
As I was going through papers during my planning period that day, I was taken aback. There was a paper with her name at the top.
This is what SHE wrote:
I have always been
a clumsy child,
and that is why I’m
afraid of everything.
I’m afraid of getting hurt
and looking dumb
and never been graceful
or beautiful enough
like models in magazines.
I was stunned.
You see, I know something about what it feels like to be afraid of getting hurt.
I know what it feels like to think you are not graceful or beautiful.
In that moment, God showed me that I could understand this difficult student.
SHE was JUST LIKE ME…
I wish I could tell you that there has been a massive breakthrough and SHE believes that she has the potential that I have just begun to see in her. I wish I could tell you that SHE saw what she wrote that day as the powerful statement that I see it is.
Maybe SHE does and SHE just doesn’t feel comfortable enough to tell me.
I wish I could tell you that I have found a way to repair some of the damage that I did in not being able to see what was just below the surface in her. But, I can’t…yet.
I can tell you that SHE taught me more in one poem than I taught her all year. SHE is continuing to teach me that I need to go deeper and not listen to what others say about my students, but rather see for myself. SHE is teaching me that the persona we show to the world may not really be who we are at all.
SHE is talented…
SHE is brave…
SHE is ______________…
“There is a kind of beauty in imperfection.”