Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Wish I Could Hug

As I was on my way back to my classroom after lunch last week, I noticed a little boy in the hallway whom I knew because of my after-school remedial class.  He was hunched down, almost sitting on the floor, and he didn't look like his usual self.  He looked sad. 

I looked at him and asked him if he was okay.  He answered me by shaking his head back and forth slowly.  I questioned further, and his eyes started to water as he shared how a kid in his class told on him.  Now, knowing this kid, he probably DID need to be told on.  He doesn't always make the best behavior choices.  However, that aside, his hurt was real.

As we talked about the situation more and what he could do in the future, the tears that had pooled began falling.  They fell from his eyelids and landed on his knees.  He looked so sad and defeated.  Every instinct in me wanted to wrap my arms around this little one and just hold him.  To let him cry, and to feel sad with him, and hold him.

But I'm a teacher, and our job is a precarious one. We are under much scrutiny and can lose our jobs over a filed complaint, even if we did nothing wrong. 

So I was afraid to hug him.  It felt so wrong not to.  I encouraged him with my words and tried to get him to go back into his class.  I told him to take a minute in the hall before going back in (after all, who wants to walk back into the classroom crying).  As I walked away, my conscience tugged at me.  But legally that's what I was to do.

I wish I could hug students.  It seems so wrong that the "right" thing to do is walk away while a little boy wipes his tears in the hallway alone. 

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