i feel like i only ever write about my students when there's something sad, or dramatic, or challenging to report. perhaps it's because i need to process these moments the most and writing is a platform for reflecting. it's not that there's never any good moments to celebrate, i definitely celebrate even the smallest, tiniest of things. but sometimes celebrating can feel a little like bragging. look, basically, i just haven't posted in a few weeks and felt the need to post again and this is what is on my mind, so...
...i feel like i'm failing my students every day. i don't say this because i want or need sympathetic pats-on-the-back from anyone. i'm not asking for that. it's just how i feel almost all of the time and i need my people, my friends and family, to know that i feel it all day long every day. because it's part of me.
the fact is that i can see what my kids need and can't always give it. i've read their histories, i've talked to their doctors, parents, foster parents, case managers, court-appointed guardians, probation officers, etc and there are so many deep and troubling issues that they are dealing with every minute of their days and i KNOW that makes it impossible for them to focus on anything else, least of all algebra and history and ACTs. the fact is that i believe very much in education and the importance of having it and the scandalousness of wasting it, but there's so much more to their lives than what happens at school. i second-guess my interactions with my students all the time; i wonder if i should be teaching my classes differently, structuring my program differently; i wonder if i'm doing what's right for them, should i be more lenient, or less lenient, more flexible, or establish firmer boundaries, give more support, or let them stand on their own more. it's overwhelming to feel this way.
there's not a lot in my students' lives that i have control of. i can't change their pasts, i can't force them to make good choices or make the most of their education, and i can't force them to get enough sleep and eat the right foods and take their medications. i can't fill all the holes in their lives. they need more than i am. i only have a few hours a day, a social development class, the intervention room (the classroom i work in where kids can come get academic help or use as a place to cool down...i call it the "free speech zone" so they can say whatever they need to say without worrying about getting into trouble!), and my ED/BD "program." that's all i can control, and even those things have some parameters that i can't manipulate. so i think i get overwhelmed by trying not to mess up what little i have that i can control. it's that perfectionistic thing...i'm afraid to make a mistake, because i feel like i can't afford it, because there is already too much failure surrounding my students' lives.
sorry if that's depressing. i know i need to do this job and i know i have an opportunity to make it whatever my students need it to be, the ED/BD program, that is. i care about my students and i have to get used to dealing with a lot of sad, frustrating, and irritating situations. sometimes it just gets to me. i guess i just wanted to share that with you guys.

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