Passion and Weakness

question-marks2On Tuesday I received an email from the supervisor of foster care and adoptions at the agency we applied to. She thanked us for our application and shared that our assigned licensing representative would be getting in touch with us sometime within the next two to three weeks. As a courtesy she also included, “If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to contact me.”I was just thinking how amusing it would be to really contact her with ALL of the questions we have right now. The questions that we will eventually find answers to (What type of financial assistance comes with fostering?) along with the others that only life can answer (Can we handle this?) She may regret ever offering.

I am a teacher and this week I had to go to bat for one of my students. Some pretty big decisions were being made about this student’s education and whether or not the child belongs in the general education classroom. The special ed team was divided and quite a few were on the fence ready to be tipped one way or another. The weight of the decision pulled me down for days. Knowing that absolute failure or success could be possible with either decision, and only time would tell, was a terribly helpless feeling. The truth of the matter was that no one knew for sure what the “best” decision was. Yes, there were assessments and data but, as educators, we all knew that behind the numbers there is a child, a child with an educational future balanced in our hands.

In the final meeting, at the height of the debate, I simply lost it. I couldn’t hold back the tears. I am generally a pretty closed-off person emotionally, they are far from being stitched on my sleeve, however, when things get intense, if I get angry or frustrated, or simply feel completely helpless, as I did at that meeting, there’s no holding back the tears.  I was embarrassed. All I wanted to do was stand tall and make a poignant and confident case for what I believed in but all I could do was sit there and try to not let my tears turn into an ugly cry as my colleagues looked on.  Instant tears have always plagued me and ruined many moments of would-be triumph in situations that have tested me.  After what totalled up to be about two hours of conversations around this student, a compromise was eventually reached and we are bringing it to the parent on Monday. What her final say on the matter will be is yet to be determined.

Fighting so fiercely for this student, for needs that might not be far off from the needs of my someday children, rocked me. I want to be a strong and confident parent that can go to bat for their child when needed. I want to be able to stand up in a courtroom, a conference room, or a classroom and fight for what I think is right for their wellbeing without being reduced to tears and choked sobs. If I am so moved by this passion and determination for a student that is mine for only a school year, how is it going to compare to the ferocity with which I will want to fight for my someday children? Mr. Something may need to lead that charge. I’ll be sure to write notes for him. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Passion and Weakness

  1. As a parent with, currently, 3 children receiving special ed. services I can tell you we dream of a teacher with the kind of passion you expressed. I can also tell you there is nothing better than having a partner who you can tag when you’re not sure you can handle the emotions of a situation. There is one staff member I just can’t handle, my husband is the go to guy when it comes to conferences and IEP’s. It works for us. Good Luck on your journey.

    • Thank you for the kind words! It’s funny because my husband said that while he was reading my post he was ready to charge downstairs to shake me and tell me, “That’s what I’m here for!” And then he got to the end of my post. 🙂 It’s good to be a team. Thanks again for checking in!

  2. Don’t be so quick to assume that your tears prevented triumph. We never know what onlookers perceive when they assess a situation. To us it may have been the point they felt we failed and to them it may have been the moment they saw your heart.

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