Yesterday we talked about Dallas teachers crying. It happens because we are emotionally invested in our work and our kids. Many have a less than ideal an sometimes chaotic homelife and school is one of the only things that provides a sense of stability and safety. The challenging side of that is when relationships grow strong enough between teacher and student, they start to unload things on you that you just aren't qualified or capable of dealing with.
When I was a first year teacher, I saw one of my favorite students get attacked by her boyfriend. He walked into her classroom and started to choke and throw her around. I got invovled and got them separated. I talked to an administrator and her mother. The follow up conversation with the student was where it gets tricky. She wanted to break down the whole history of why things are this way. From domestic abuse to pregnancy to low self esteem, she shared it all. That same week another student told me about her pregnancy her 8th grade year and how that was causing problems between her and her family. She asked me not to tell anyone and I told her that I couldn't make that promise because some of the things she was telling me I had to let someone more qalified handle.
I put them in touch with an admin, school psychologist, CPS, and the nurse. Why? Because some of these problems are above me.
Whenever my teacher friends tell me things like "my student said their boyfriend/dad/brother is beating them up at night" I always tell them the same thing, "tell an admin immediately." Yes, that seems extreme, but the handbook pretty much tells you to go further than that and call CPS.
The usual response is something along the lines of "I don't want to betray their trust, I told them I wouldn't tell. That would ruin our relationship."
Well good luck. You're going to jail. Enjoy that.
Here are the problems with that logic:
1. You're already telling by talking to me about it, so the "betrayal" already happened. I just can't do anything to help.
2. You don't actually need a relationship with a child, especially one that you aren't related to.
3. It's better for them to be safe and angry than dead.
These are conversations you don't imagine yourself having when you decide to teach. I never thought I'd have to tell other teachers "you need to call someone in case that child gets murdered tonight." Turns out that's teaching. Sometimes it seems like the SMALLEST part of the job is instruction and content.
Be a shoulder to cry on. Be an ear to listen. The most important thing you need to be, however, is an adult. Put their safety first no matter what. They'll thank you when they keep living. Maybe not, but you'll thank you. Sometimes that's worth it.
DISD Student safety
DISD Student Violence
When DISD Students Breakdown
Dallas Student Emotional Health