A few former students stopped by school yesterday. It was great to see them, to see how much they’ve grown, how much they’ve changed, one I didn’t even recognize at first because his hair had grown so much! I’m glad that I’m still at the same school and that the middle school where my former students go is so close. I like to see and hear about how they’re doing.
Even though I’m still in the same city as the school where I first taught, I’m on the other side of the river and so I don’t get to see my students from there as often. Every once and a while I’ll run into a student downtown or out and about but for the most part I feel disconnected from those former students and I feel sad about that. I’d like to know where they are and what they’re doing.
I recently found out some not so great news about a former student though and it’s weighing heavily on my mind. There are times when I here things about former students that aren’t great. I hear that this one was suspended or that that one changed schools and I feel sad. I heard that one of my former students is having a hard time and is depressed and, I can only speculate from what I was told, was being bullied very badly and this student tried to deal with it in what I consider the worst way possible, but perhaps this student felt it was the only way. And I feel every time I hear these things that I have failed my students.
I know that I’m not a fairy godmother and I can’t wave my magic wand and fix all the problems in my students lives. I know that. But still it hurts so much when I feel like I didn’t do enough. But what is enough? What could I have done differently in the lives of these students to prevent what’s happening to them now? Is there anything I could have done?