My first student teaching placement in the city has ended and my second student teaching placement in the suburbs has begun. And I am going to say this and I will stand by it for the entirety of my career: “Students everywhere have problems. It does not matter the location of the school – urban, suburban or rural. All.students.have.problems.”
My second block of the day was interrupted today by an announcement sharing with the school that one of the 7th grade students had died after an accident in a lacrosse game. Not many of my 6th graders knew the student, but after a few minutes of instruction, it was clear that some students were very upset. My CT took one student down to the counselor’s office and I did some impromptu review sessions for the test the students were supposed to take today. Which is when the kids started working in small groups. Which is when I made my rounds around the classroom to check on individual groups. Which is when I noticed the tears in B’s eyes. Which is when I asked her if she needed to take a walk. Which is when we made our way down to the library. Which is when I had a flashback.
When I was a freshman in high school, a sophomore, D, committed suicide. I remember having one of the hardest morning hockey practices of my high school career that day, as our coach was trying to get our minds off of the news. An announcement was made during Convocation (our morning gathering in the Chapel, since we didn’t have a PA system), and the sophomore student council played Puff Daddy’s “I’ll Be Missin You.” Dry eyes were hard to find in the school of 450 students that day. Classes were held as usual, but counselors were stationed throughout the school. I remember spending my history block with 3 other students from different grades and a counselor sharing memories of D. Teachers were understanding and caring, but they also let us grieve as we lost a member of our community.
I was overwhelmed when I stepped into the library with B. It was filled with students hugging and crying, students trying to reach parents on their cell phones, students fighting back tears while drawing on posters celebrating the memory of their friend. It was so unbelievably powerful that it took me a few moments before I was able to take it all in. I truly believe that Tyler will always be a part of this school community and he will not be forgotten.