Just this past week a child was abducted in the area, and sadly, she attended the school in which I practicum. You don't really mentally prepare yourself for these types of situations and it is hard to know how you are going to deal with them until they hit you head on. The other day I was using the restroom and I noticed a girl from the class that I practicum sitting on the floor very angry. Another friend was crouched down whispering to her, coaxing her up and to come back to class, but she refused. I said nothing at first, waiting to see what would happen as I washed my hands. A moment later the girl begins to cry, I tell the friend to head back to class and I kneel down to talk to her. A little reluctantly at first, she begins to tell me her story. 
    "This has been the worst two weeks of my life! My best friend was the one who was killed, and my dad will not let me go to her funeral today. I was supposed to but now he said I can't. He already wouldn't let me go to the candlelight walk and visitation, and she was my best friend, she was my neighbor!"
I took a moment to gather myself, having not dealt with this situation before, it is strikingly painful. But it wasn't long before my motherly instincts took over and we had a deep conversation about what was going on. I convinced her to come back to class and I would get a pass for her to go the counselors office. She agreed and I was, luckily, able to do that for her. When she came back to class I helped her complete the rest of her work. She thanked me and hugged me after class, and said that most people just don't care about her like that.
How sad that a little empathy was enough to get a reaction like that! But it feels good to be able to help someone, even if it is small. This was an eye opening experience for me because when tragedy strikes you have to put on a brave face for your students, but you can't forget to show compassion for those who don't understand or who are affected by it the most.


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    January 2014