Well, tomorrow I have to go in and talk to one of my students about an essay he wrote for me which may or may not be indicative of abuse. I don't like being in this situation, mainly because I don't think this kid will talk to me, but also because I don't like to think about my students being in abusive homes. People think when you teach high school that all the kids are tough and grown up and hard to deal with. The reality is that they are still kids. And they still need us.
A few years ago, a senior boy was failing my class so I called his father to let him know. The mother then called me all sorts of choice names for calling the father and not her....little did I know they were divorced and fighting over custody. I talked to the boy outside of class one day and apologized for calling the wrong parent. He burst into tears and said "I'm not worried about me because I'm almost out of the house. I just worried about my sister." Here was this huge, 18 year old "man" crying in the hallway. At that moment I realized that we never really know what is going on with our students--big or little--and that at the end of the day, they still need someone, anyone, to let them know it's all going to be OK.
I hope this child I'm talking to tomorrow is not being abused. I hope that he will be OK. I hope that if he isn't he'll find someone to talk to. I hope it's me.