July 13, 2024


Education, What Else?

Putting on my Running Shoes

3 min read
Putting on my Running Shoes

I stumble into my closet half asleep after my alarm goes off way too early in the morning, and get dressed.

Shirt – check.
Pants – check
Shoes – cute heels, check.

A memory from yesterday flashes through my mind as I put the heels back: a teacher calling out, “He’s running!” and other teachers in hot pursuit of a young child in crisis. I grab my running shoes instead and continue getting ready for my morning.

I have never seen anything like this before, and I have seen things I never expected to see as a teacher over the past decade running the gamut from a real lockdown because a student brought a gun to school to a student bringing a cat to school in his backpack. (Although in the student’s defense, it was not his cat that he brought to school.) The first weeks of school have been filled with multiple students in crisis and running away from staff daily.

The trauma that students are showing up to school with is astounding. I cannot help but wonder: has it always been like this? Students arrived at school with trauma in the BC times (before COVID), but the number of traumatized students I have seen at school since 2020 is staggering. Students are hitting, kicking, biting, and cussing out their teachers daily; and some of these students are as young as first grade.

Some classes have multiple students that engage in these behaviors. I feel for the teachers, who are brought to tears (or to the verge of tears) on a daily basis trying to reach their students with trauma. I feel for the other students who feel scared and confused when they see these things happen to their teacher.

Teachers are expected to teach these students all day, the same as their students who come from food secure and safe homes. They are expected to welcome them back into their classrooms after a violent or emotional outburst and continue teaching as if nothing has happened. I understand the importance of holding all of your students to high expectations, but at the same time feel the teachers’ frustration trying to teach all of your students enthusiastically shortly after you have just been cussed out or when your leg is still throbbing from where you were kicked.

I cannot help but wonder if this is unfair to students who are going through trauma. When students are refusing to come off the playground, running from or hitting staff, or spinning around their classroom like an airplane trying to cause as much destruction as possible or even just trying to make it through the day unscathed, the mom in me wants to help their emotional needs and pause academics. The teacher in me reminds me to love them in the best way I can and that all students deserve a quality education. Balancing the two, and knowing which one to lean into at any given moment, is a challenge.

While I have been an educator long enough to know that heels are not suitable shoes to wear when you are on your feet all day no matter how cute they are, I will keep putting on my running shoes and showing up to help these teachers and students the best way I can.


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