If you see a whole thing - it seems that it's always beautiful. Planets, lives... But up close a world's all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life's a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Students In Crisis

Today a student came in for advising but s/he didn't really want advice. S/he wanted to catch up and see me. We spoke for almost 2 hours. This student went through an educational crisis hir first year and a personal crisis hir second year. This is hir third year and s/he'll be graduating in the Spring. Hir life is stable and good. S/he has many options ahead of hir and has had some enriching experiences in the program. For the first half of the conversation I was waiting for hir to tell me why s/he wanted to meet with me. I assumed it would be a letter of recommendation or something along those lines. Then I realized s/he just wanted to spend some time with me.

I was able to be there for this student during both issues...not in any heroic way just in the human kind. I liked this student when s/he was a student in my class before any problems hit so I made a point to reach out when they did. Sometimes that's all it takes....little things like checking in, providing encouragement, and listening. I'm proud of this student. Back when s/he needed to hear it, I reminded hir that s/he was strong enough to see the bad times through. S/he was and s/he did.

I have a student in my current class who is in crisis. I like this student. A few weeks ago I reached out to hir. We met and I offered advice, encouragement, support and tried to connect hir to some additional help. S/he is trying very hard to cope with some really big issues on hir own. S/he is strong and I'm proud of hir efforts but things have gotten worse not better. We spoke briefly in class today and I've asked hir to come and see me again tomorrow. Hir problems require more than just checking in and listening but that may be all I can do.

I hope we reach the day where we can waste an afternoon sitting in my office and catching up.


Dr. Bad Ass said...

One of the reasons teaching is so rewarding (even in semesters like this one, for me) is the connection we can make with students. I have a student, who is also an advisee, whose husband is one of the quarterbacks on the football team. She came in a couple of days ago to ask me how I handled it when Slogger had his heart attack, because her husband had received a seriously bad hit and was suffering from a concussion and other problems. He was cleared to play this weekend, and she didn't know how to handle her fear for him.

Seeking Solace said...

It is truly rewarding to be able to make that connection. Good for you!

Julie said...

Ditto! You are an excellent teacher. I knew a few like you, and they were priceless. We still keep in contact, too, which is also priceless.

I also had one teacher who spent hours of her own time with me when I had a big problem. Many hours. What a special woman she is.