Saturday, January 21, 2012

i cried at work

It happens. It especially happens to teachers. So I don't feel wimpy or pathetic.

I was at work the other day, sitting in my little nook. The nook where I sit with kids and try to help them catch up their peers in their literacy and math skills. No easy feat. Especially when a lot of these kiddos have a lot going on. And by a lot going on I mean, poverty, P.T.S.D, Specific Learning Disabilities, domestic violence, hunger, ADHD, Autism, neurological disabilities etc. Sometimes they don't want to de students. How can you blame them? And, what do you do then? I don't know. I have no magic answer. But I sometimes feel like I should.

And I also feel a little tired and guilty for not seeing my kids as much. And sometimes I even feel a little lonely.

So I was in my nook. Not imagining that there were tears that needed to come out. Sitting in a tiny chair surrounded by papers. And Rosaria poked her head in. Rosaria is a voluptuous, beautiful,  Puerto Rican 5th grade Sp.Ed teacher who tells it like it is. Rosaria, or mama, as we call her, delivered her first hug and kiss to me on my first day of work. She calls me mamita (little mama)  and on this particular morning she said I looked like a gift  (because my blouse had a bow on it). She asked me how I was, in her extremely thick Puerto Rican accent. I said I was fine. And at that same moment I realized I was lying and I choked out, "Actually, I'm not .." before I burst into tears. At first Rosaria said, "No, none of that mamita." Then, when she realized these were earnest tears, she swept me up into her perfumed, glistening-with-bling, bosom and brought me into her room.

She asked me what my biggest problem was. We started with that and then she listened as I told her all of my problems/concerns, professional and personal. She listened. She gave me practical advice. And then she told me her story.  Which, duh, was way more dramatic and rife with serious problems than mine. Though she didn't tell me to make me feel like mine were less.

I left that room feeling abluted and calm.

It was good.

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