the reason I went home

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hI received an email during the school day from a student who wrote to say the reason she went home early was because she was tired of being bullied. She wanted her teachers to know that even though we may think she doesn’t care about her grades, “deep inside” she really does care about her grades.

I hadn’t seen her that morning, because we had not had English class yet. I hadn’t checked my email until the end of first break–during which I was finishing up a lesson plan for after the March holiday which began after school today.

Sometime before break this student must have called her driver and asked him to take her home.

I had no time to respond to her email as my next class was coming in. Then Period 4 happened. Then it was lunch where I was facilitating a Community and Service meeting in which the students were in the throes of planning a Fun Run for Cancer Patients.

After lunch, I walked into class and saw her with her usual group of friends. Understandably, still a bit emotional, she was not reacting well to the class discussion and was asked to leave by another teacher to finish her work more quietly in the other room.

When I had a moment, I slipped out and said, “I got your email. I’m so glad you came back. I was worried about you. What happened?”

“Yeah, I’m tired of being bullied.”

Was it something I said?”

Just one week prior also on a Friday, I had spoken to her quietly about 3 lies she had just told me. Each one flimsy. I asked her what she really wanted, because she had to notice that I had just seen through the 3 lies. She seemed surprised by my candidness. As a result, she told me she wanted to finish the poetry collection she hadn’t turned in yet–instead of working on an IT assignment.

I responded, “Now we’re getting somewhere. This is the truth. This is what I want to hear, not 3 lies about not having your computer, not being able to get a loaner from the IT department or that you forgot your password.”


Was it something I said?”

“No,” her voice registered concern for me, “You’re a nice teacher.”

I gave her a hug. My throat felt a bit tight.

I don’t normally want to be the “nice teacher.” Yet, my genuine hope was that this had been her way of saying that I was a teacher who was trying to understand.

As I write this nodding from exhaustion, not knowing how coherent the words are, I’m contemplating a response to her email. This will be the first thing I do on my first official day of “spring break.”



About jaclynfre

Tech integration specialist, recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in international teaching and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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