Tuesday, January 20, 2009

teaching trust, and then letting it go

on friday morning the father of one of my lovely ones found her classroom teacher and informed her that the rent of their apartment is going up, and that there is no way they can pay it. they have until the end of the day, he said, to decide if they will stay or if they will move in with his sister a few towns over.

you might as well have punched me in the stomach. we immediately racked our brains with "what can we do? can we find them housing in our district? do we beg him to keep the too-expensive apartment because we realize how detrimental this will be to his family?" we can't beg them to stay because it will significantly hurt their quality of life, but how can we just watch them go?

this is the little girl who caused me weekends of struggling with reactive attachment disorder, who scared me more than any child i've ever worked with, but has made such a huge improvement. her brother also has been diagnosed with disabilities, and has also made huge strides this year. so many of us at our school have worked so hard with this family.

but unlike last year when my lunch-bunch kiddos announced they were leaving, i'm not as sad for myself as i am for these children. these children have thrived this year because of how hard we've worked to make their lives stable. everything in their life seemed to change upside down and inside out every month or so, just when they started to feel secure and happy something would pull the rug out from them again. yet we've been able to fight to keep it somewhat stable in school, watching them closely, giving them what they need, adding support and taking it away when we know it is ok to do so. and now they'll lose that.

once again adults in their world are proving to them that nothing is stable, nothing is secure. what a mistake to become close to their teachers, because, just like everyone else in their lives, we wont be with them forever either. for any other child, i am sadder for my own loss than i am for theirs. but for them, who are so desperate to know that adults in their life will keep them safe, wont leave them, but instead will love them... we're being proved wrong. we wont be able to always be there. the world, that we've been trying to prove as at least somewhat safe, isn't. sure these are lessons we all learn at some point, but not when we're this young, not when our lives so small that this causes developmental psychological delays.

i could be wrong. perhaps my little one will thrive in her new school. perhaps she'll leave us happily, securely. perhaps us staying in touch with her at her new school will allow her to understand relationships in a way that will allow her to trust others and heal. but i'm terrified it wont. i'm terrified it's sentencing her to years of silence, aloneness, cutting herself off from the world because it's easier than being hurt yet again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, I hate it when this happens. It is so important for children to have stability in their lives, and to keep having to change schools because of their parents' poverty is awful. I hope everything works out okay for her.