It starts with a hug

Recently I have been posting some of the challenges that our students deal with so that I can raise a little bit of awareness for those who have never experienced what our kids go through. For those who like to blame the poor for being lazy. To help them hopefully see a little of what really happens to these kids. They aren’t lazy – I know that much.
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I have decided to continue to post those updates each day that something like this comes to me at work – Which is almost every day, as I serve as a Crisis Intervention specialist at my school and feel sometimes to be on the front line to the war against poverty and do what we can to save these kids, who through no fault of their own are born in unfortunate circumstances (That was a long run on sentence).
With all the issues that go on in our schools I saw the reason why we do what we do this morning, proven again during the afternoon and then it was book-ended this afternoon.
Sheila and I are at the same school this year and each morning I watch kids pile off of the bus and run to her for hugs. They run past 4 or 5 other adults on the way. They literally make a beeline for her. A lot of these students aren’t even hers, but they run for the hugs. I can see the joy she brings them and the love they feel when she hugs them. Loads of hugs every morning.
People say they would never be able to work with their spouse – I get to see each morning how great she is at her job. Then I don’t usually see her again until the end of the day. It’s kind of nice to drive in together, start my morning by being inspired and then get to work with my own students.
Today I texted her because I wanted her to meet my favorite student. Yes, we have them. This student has been in a “crisis” situation 15 times this school year already. Today he kept breaking down in class and needed me to go get him. At one of our visits he was destroying his classroom. Flipping desks and screaming. I finally got through to him after he calmed down and he told me that last night his grandmother took him to the cemetery with her because she wanted to visit his cousin. His cousin was 16 and died “because he got shot.”
4th grade. On a school night – He was at cemetery supporting grandma as she dealt with the loss of a grandchild. A grandchild – An older cousin – Who was murdered. Shot. Dead.
Sheila came over on her break to meet this student – We talked for a few minutes and then he said he likes to read – She asked if we could go to her room and she gave him 3 books to take home and read this weekend. She even tested him on the spot to make sure he was on level by asking him to read. He was fantastic. Surprised her with how well he could read. He was so happy with the visit. He told me…. “Mrs. Eagan is nice.” He’s right
I had bragged to him about her – Told him she was super smart and pretty. When I reminded him and said “told you she was pretty” he blushed and giggled.
I walked him back to class and he didn’t need to see me again the rest of the day.
Hugs – giving away free books to students she just met. Giving up her break to meet my guy…. All the time this is how she is.
At the end of each day I stand outside of the lower school exit and high-five kids on the way to the bus and tell them we can’t wait to see them again the next day. a little encouragement to send them off with. Today, one of Sheilas students blew through my high-five wrapped me in one of those hugs she gets in the morning and said “I’m gonna miss you so much.” I told her we will see her on Monday and she responded by saying “That’s soooooo long”
I had amazing teachers growing up – I even had a huge crush on a student teacher/assistant coach my senior year of high school that I loved to see every day. I never once missed them over the weekend. Never once thought the weekend was too long. Never once felt like Monday would be the day I looked forward to.
I never ran to my teacher – or a random adult every morning to get a hug. I never had to. I had family at home. I had friends. I had a safe street to play on with friends with parents who gave us snacks and encouraged us.
I had privilege.
These children do not. These children deserve everything we can give them. Because they deal with things they do not deserve every day.
I have always known Sheila was amazing with kids. I saw her with her siblings, she is the oldest of 10. I have seen her with our friends children as they flock to her. Now I get to see her teach. It’s amazing.
She is the teacher with the good line in the hall. The teacher who lets kids eat lunch and watch a movie in her room instead of taking a break and then brings her lesson planning home. She is the teacher who kids run to for hugs and who can’t stand going home at night and for a weekend because they won’t see her for a few days.
We serve a purpose in our careers and some people refuse to accept that. People refuse to think our students need the services we give them. The free lunches because they might not eat at home. The coat drives we do because they don’t have them. The programs like mine. “Crisis Intervention” With little kids… Crisis.
That’s what we do though, and each morning I get to see the fruit of our labor as the hugs pile up and the smiles flow to little kids faces all because of the special woman I manged to get hitched to.

One thought on “It starts with a hug

  1. Pingback: On who we are – Emerging Trail

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