last night i got a was a simple yet devastating one
"scotty, one of your students committed suicide tonight"
JS was a student in my 3rd block class....i also talked to him a good bit through government club. very smart, quiet at times, but talkative with those he was comfortable with. he always laughed at my lame jokes and antics in the classroom which made him a favorite of mine. he always used a small black eraser to make sure all his work was correct.
when the other teacher told me that he had committed suicide, i was at first caught off guard. then i started to cry. this student was in my class on monday, and now he was dead.
this morning we had a faculty meeting to discuss what to do during the day. our principal told us she wanted us to try and go about our daily routine but it would be understandable if we did not meet all objectives today. at this point i already started to get teary eyed....two of the other spanish teachers (the ones im closest to, one of which is my mentor and spanish teacher from when i was in high school) came with me back up to my room to rearrange my desks. heaven knows how i would have reacted if i had to stare at JS's empty desk all day during 3rd block today. 1st block was planning period so i laid low as my mentor brought her AP spanish class into my room. 2nd block was not so easy.
JS was a junior and in the band. during 2nd block i had 2 other juniors that were in the band as well. they entered the room with red eyes....i told everyone to start their do now but when it came time to tell everyone the plan for the day (emergency lesson plan of drawing animals and describing them in spanish), i broke down. as i cried, my other students hid their faces as well. the room was silent aside from my attempts to suppress my sobs. i told them the assignment and for them to get started on it while i went to the bathroom to catch my bearings....when i returned, i was happy to see my students had already gotten up to get the colored pencils/crayons for their work
3rd block was surprisingly easier...two of the guidance counselors came to my room to talk to the students which saved me from having to say anything. from that point on, the day went fine.
what has shocked me is that while i only knew JS for about 2 months, the relationship i had established with him simply by being his teacher was strong. even though we may not like all our students, the fact that we are their teachers still means something. and of course i wonder what i could have done to make the idea of suicide for JS seem like it shouldnt and couldnt be an option. instead, im left with the obligation to make sure every impact i have on my students is a positive one.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008