Christmas and Hanukkah are just about here and I'm not seeing an awful lot of cheer amongst my students. Actually, I feel like crap for some of them. One of my girls got stabbed by her sister with a FORK. Her stitches made me cringe. Too often, my students have shared with me what they feel to be normal events in their lives, and my student could have been telling me she had macaroni and cheese last night.
TeacherLady: What happened?
Stabbed Student: Nothing. Me an' my sister got in a fight. She stabbed me. With a fork.
We sat in silence for a moment.
TeacherLady: I'm sorry that happened to you. That kind of stuff isn't supposed to happen. You know that's not how to settle an argument, right?
She looked me in the eye and it felt as though we both knew the futility of the conversation. She's a good girl, she knows it's wrong. Some don't, but she does, despite her feigned rough exterior. I've heard students tell me they know they've found the right guy when he doesn't hit them much. What kind of lives must they live to think that's an acceptable standard?
Stabbed Student: Do you have any Band Aids? This stuff is falling off.
I feel my hands go a little weak as I help position fresh Band Aids to hold the gauze over the blue stitches. My forks at home aren't very sharp. What kind of force would it take to dig a fork in that deep?
She tells me 241-KIDS is going to make a home visit. I know nothing good will come of this and I tell her I hope her sister never does anything like that again and that I'm sure she loves her very much, but that she made the wrong decision.
As usual, my student gets almost all of her work done in every class, and when she's finished, she puts her head against her desk and sucks her fingers.