Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I opened up my email program at school at 6:20 Monday morning to find this:

"Clever Boy's father called to let us know that his mother was killed in Afghanistan last week.  He won't be at school for a few days and would like you to collect work for him."

This sucks on so many levels.

One of the hazards of working in a building that serves a lot of military kids is that the odds will eventually catch up with you and you'll get a message like this.  That doesn't make it any easier.  And the fact that it isn't the first makes it suck even more.

So, we got together work for Clever Boy but I really don't care if he turns it in or not.  He has other things to deal with that are lot more important than a writing prompt and a set of workbook pages on states of matter.  Mr. Math actually talked with Clever Boy's Dad (who is divorced from Clever Boy's mom) and it was obvious that this has hit the family hard (despite the divorce) and that they need to deal with this before we need to worry about school.

So, the week after we finished The Very Bid Deal Government Mandated Test, I'm struck with the realization that although the government makes a big deal over the damn test, and everyone is so obsessed with the damn test, that when you really get down to it, IT ISN'T WHAT REALLY MATTERS.  (Although 50% of my evaluation of a teacher is now based on this damn test.)

What really matters is that we take care of our kids.

What really matters is that we are here when a kid loses his mom.

What really matters is that when a kid needs a shoulder to cry on, we're here.

What really matters is that when a dad is choked up about losing his ex-wife in the line of duty, we're here.

What really matters is that we are here, taking care of many of the kids that society doesn't really care about because they're poor, or have disabilities, or their parents have issues, or no one really cares about them at home.  We are here for them.

What really matters is that we try to do whatever we can to get these kids to grow up to be decent human beings with the skills to take care of themselves and have a happy life.

We just don't teach these kids about science, or social studies, or math, or reading, or whatever.

We're teaching them to be good people.  And it's a damn hard job.  And no freaking test is ever going to measure that.


tiffany said...

So sorry for this loss...I have several close friends overseas at this time and worry each day. It is such a sacrafice that these families are making. As for the test you are ABSOLUTELY right when things like this happen it puts EVERYTHING else into perspective. Hang in there and remember what you do is important!! Thoughts and prayers are with you and this family!!

ChiTown Girl said...

I'm so sorry for your student's loss. I will be saying prayers for his family.

TeacherFromTN said...

AMEN!!! Remembering that the children are humans, not just data producers. Loving them when no one else will. Teaching them basic manners and kindness. So many times, this has to come first--before we can even get through to teach the ones who need us most. And, truthfully, it's why I can get up and go each morning. Thoughts and prayers for all of you who will be there for the boy and his family.

R2P2 said...

Amen. I come from a military family and know the fear and hurt that goes into every deployment. I'll say a few prayers for your lil' guy. Hope he's able to be open to the support and love you all are offering. Hang in there.

Jim Connolly said...

Eloquently stated. Thank you for sharing.

Dan Edwards said...

I'm sorry to hear this....it is heard TOO MUCH. I know the feeling for teachers; one of my former students was KIA in Iraq. Such a *&^%$# waste.

I will forever curse the government leaders who got us into this mess. So many lives and so much money wasted for....what? Medieval societies still existing in the 21st century?

Just a suggestion; if your school still has counselors (we haven't had those in several years), ask counselor to talk to your students classmates. The boy will not be the same when he returns to school. His classmates can help him alot.

Carmen said...

Hooray for what really matters! My heart goes out to this boy and his family.

HappyChyck said...

The longer I teach, the more I simply want to teach. I do not want the responsibility of raising someone's child, nor do I want to the brunt of their personal development on my shoulders. I just want to teach my subject. However, it's the human connection of what we do that makes it a great job, and it's the type of connection that we do have that makes the difference in young peoples' lives. School is more than a physical building where learning takes place. It's a community where people care for each other. Mrs. Bluebird, you always do a great job of reminding us of what is important.

Kris said...

Sorry for that poor family. Well said. I shared this with many of my other teachers.