Proud Moments and Defeated Days

Some days I leave work feeling absolutely defeated; like I have failed my class in some way because I cannot help make their lives better, inspire them to be more interested in school, or a life outside of destructive behavior. Sometimes I feel downright bad at my job.

Other days my students make me feel so good. This week, for example, CLIIP has felt like a family.

When I left abruptly Tuesday I felt horrible because my co-teacher was out with his son, who was also having medical problems, and the substitute had no clue what she was doing. One of the kids is having some difficulty behaving himself and the principal had instructed me to give him a detention before the end of the day, preferably right before the end so he wouldn’t cause even more of an issue (he is just totally disrespectful, insubordinate, and a few crayons short of the box,if you know what I mean).

Anyway, since I had to leave early, I just asked that he signed the detention slip acknowledging that I had given it to him, and we could deal with any discrepancies when I returned.

“This school can suck my f*ck*ng d*ck.”

Yup, excuse my language but he said that.

“What did you just say?”

“Yeah, you heard me, this detention is for no reason…” and the he repeated his first statement.

So I called the principal and she said she would come down to the trailer to deal with him and that I should just leave.

As I was walking out the door he called out something very rude….about me having fun dealing with my sister and her loss (but he used words that were not so nice).

Two of my students, who I have had for almost a year now, totally came to my rescue and ushered me out the door saying, “Don’t worry Mrs. Weaber, we’ll make sure everything goes ok.”

And I trusted them. They really don’t belong in my program, but unfortunately violated a policy that is pretty non-negotiable, so are stuck with me until after the Christmas holiday.

When I returned to school yesterday they both asked how I was going, how Lindsay was feeling, and then I got a report from my colleague saying the one boy nearly got in trouble himself because he nearly attacked the rude detention-receiver.

Not that I condone violence by any means, but in a weird way it made me feel special that my kids think enough of me that they would come to my defense when I was being disrespected.

Fortunately, the principal gave the “bad” student more than a detention, a five-day out of school suspension, but he is one that makes me go home feeling horrible.

I have tried and tried to help this poor kid. I know he has stuff going on at home. I know he bottles up a lot of anger, resentment, and disappointment inside, but he simply will not let me in. He doesn’t even give me an opportunity to be of assistance, or be there to listen. He shuts down, acts out and says completely inappropriate things because he is scared to trust.

Am I mad at him for what he said about my sister and her situation? Yes, because I feel it was insensitive. But do I understand that his sentiments are not totally directed toward me, but rather himself, and others he is “closer” to in his life. Also, yes, because I do the same thing.

I know i have talked about this subject to the millionth degree. I am sure you are all sick of reading about suppressed feelings, maladaptive methods of coping, etc. but it is a super important topic.

I can’t move further in my recovery without working on more constructive ways to express myself, and neither can he.

But the other thing I know all too well is you can’t help someone who isn’t ready to be helped.

The first time my family sent me to the hospital I was the model patient because all I wanted to do was get out. Get out of that program and go back to whatever behaviors were making me feel better, because I didn’t want to change. WHat I was doing was working “just fine.”

This student isn’t ready for me. He isn’t ready for anyone; to let anyone in and assist him in overcoming the powerful emotions deep inside.

But for now I will wait. I will go home sad and angry some days, and proud others. Because the day I can get through to this boy, who is so resistant and hostile, is going to be one that I will hold my head high and know I did something right.

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8 thoughts on “Proud Moments and Defeated Days

  1. What’s important is that you can see through his comments to what’s going on beneath for him. That is all you can do. I think it’s so cute how many of the other students came to your defense! Still thinking of you and your family at this time.

  2. When I worked at the group home for abused kids, one of the girls was extremely hateful almost all the time and would intentionally say things she knew would upset each person. Dealing with her was hugely challenging (especially since I was the only staff member she responded to at all, and thus was placed with her almost nonstop). When I had tough days with her, which often included me being physically injured, I would just mentally repeat to myself the things she’d been through: abandonment, abuse by pretty much every member of her family, lack of a home, lack of stability, even lack of affection by the staff. You’re very right that this kid who’s giving you problems is NOT actually mad at you.

    I respect you so much for the work you do and the difference you’re making. Don’t doubt the amazing job you’re doing!

  3. That’s good that the kids stick up for you like that. Obviously you really mean a lot to them, even if it might not always seem like it. And yeah I think having an ED gives a very different perspective on a lot of things like what the kids do…

  4. I keep forgetting you’re a teacher. That’s an incredible job you do and I can only imagine the things you have to deal with with youth. Just remember – kids take stuff from their family, peers, etc….so don’t pressure yourself or feel defeated. Most of the time – if not all – it is never about you.

  5. I know exactly what you mean about tough days like that! Some kids aresi hard to reach and they will test you at every turn. Even if you don’t realize it or see it, you are making a difference!*

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