Monday, November 30, 2009
On Mondays after lunch I teach the 6-1 class. As I made my way to the front of the class, a few boys were saying, "Teacher - Thomas sad"
Thomas' Korean name is Sang-hu and he's the kind of boy who will ask me with a big genuine smile, "Teacher - How are you?"
When I ask him how he is, he has given me the answer, "I'm rainbow happy!" So he's one of my special students. The class knows I'm fond of him because he always waits till everyone's left to come and talk to me after class - maybe if he did very well in his class test or what he did over the week-end.
When I saw him today, his head was bent over and he wouldn't look up at me. I had to have a few students come to my office for a speaking test. When it was Thomas' turn, he came in with a big frown.
"Thomas, are you sad today?"
"Thomas, tell teacher why you are sad"
"I want die"
"You want to die?"
"Is it your friends?"
He starts to cry. My students usually cry when they get into fights with friends, but my 6th graders don't really cry openly (they're the seniors at school - but let's face it, they're still "babies")
"My is friends fight"
He won't tell me his friends name.
I told him to sit down and I handed him tissues while he cried.
"6-1 teacher know you sad?"
He shrugs his shoulders
"I don't know"
I so badly wanted to hug him and tell him not to cry...but I couldn't. Because of boundaries between teacher-student. There was so much I wanted to tell him, but my Korean's not that fluent and his English isn't fluent enough to understand.
I sent a message to his homeroom teacher to tell him to look out for him. He replied saying he'll talk to him after school.
Kids fight. They make up. But in that moment of them crying and hurting ... anyone can relate, I think ...and for a child to tell me, "I want die" touches me. I know that some may say I probably get too emotionally attached to my students, or to anyone for that matter who pulls on my heart strings. I guess it's just what makes me human.