Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Little Bit Blue

My job isn't emotionally easy.  I suppose a LOT of jobs are not emotionally easy.  Some days are easier than others.  Some entire periods of time can go by where I don't "feel" anything surrounding the things I see, hear, learn, witness.  Those are the times I worry about myself the most.  I am, by nature, a compassionate a fault sometimes.  When my compassion compass is "off" I know I am putting up walls, suiting up in a rough exterior and not allowing myself to "feel."  I've often rationalized it away as a defense mechanism for seeing really tough stuff on a daily basis.  Over the last 13 years there have been more difficult situations than I care to recall; but only a few have I allowed to come home with me, to enter my thoughts after 5pm, to enter into my dream world.  Again, I think a level of emotional distance is what allows me to do what I do without falling into a daily downward spiral of emotion.  My superiors probably prefer I leave the tears, the confusion and the rage for the car ride home.

In the event you wonder what I do...this about sums it up:
Source: Unknown

Confidentiality completely prohibits me from sharing ANY story outside of my immediate group of colleagues.  

What I can say is that today I FELT a whole hell of a LOT towards one student in particular.  It was all I could do to put on a brave, professional face and hope that no one could detect the teary sparkle in my eye and the quiver in my voice.

I imagine some of you might be reading this in chastisement, reminding me that "I choose this field."  Yes, I did.  But at 22 years old I had not the slightest notion what I would see and experience in the years that lay before me.  At 22 years old I was still so very self involved I don't think my compassion compass had even seen the light of day.  (Or at the very least it had been tucked away in my pocket for longer than I care to admit.)

So while I sit at home tonight, feeling extraordinarily tender about the story of a young student, I feel the slightest bit relieved because, at least,  I am "feeling" again and I can't help but think that is a good sign.  It's times like these where I am able to do my best work.  

As I begin this school year I hope to maintain a healthy level of compassion.  I hope to feel shocked, worried, concerned, excited, loved and overjoyed.  Experiencing the whole run of emotions on behalf of others tells me I am more emotionally healthy than I think I am.  And that is something I have been working REALLY diligently towards all summer long.

I am blessed to work with children.  I have read so many blogs this week about letting your babies head out to the first day of school.  I have talked to a number of friends about the tears they have shed as the put their babies on the bus or walked them in for meet the teacher night.  While most of your children are BEYOND supported at home, please keep in mind the special and unique circumstances of each and every student in the school and remind your little ones that a reassuring smile to the "odd" kid in the back of the room might alter the course of their lives (both their lives) forever.

Happy 2012-2013!
Source: Unknown

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  1. Can I just tell you that from a parent's perspective, that "A LOT" you felt about that student is such a blessing to his or her parents. There are a few teachers who have taken my child under their wings with a special place in their hearts for him. And those were the teachers that made it feel safe to drop him off at school every day. They were the reason he got through his day.

  2. Thank you, Debi! You put that much needed smile on my face today! I hope your son has a wonderful school year...where ever that might be!

  3. Beautiful post Patty, you are making a huge difference in the world.