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07 October 2016 @ 08:16 pm
As a teacher, I've received my fair share of gifts from students. Teacher appreciation week, Christmas, it's always the usual stuff. The mugs, the quirky pencils and pens, the stationary, all of which I have kept since I started my career, but today I think I was given something that meant more to me than anything I've ever been gifted.

Yes. That is a rock. And that's a flower drawn on with crayon.

P, child who gave it to me, comes from a really rough background. I'm talking estranged, drug riddled parents (she's being raised by her much older grandmother, and Grandma is trying as hard as she can given the circumstances), poverty, literally no solid structure or schedule that a 7-year-old needs to thrive. Yet, despite of everything working against her, she has a heart of gold and has the potential, if she's got support and put in the right classes at school as she gets older, to rise above all of those things she can't help.

She walked in this morning wearing the same clothes she had on the day before, handed me a wadded up brown paper bag, and said, "I spent all evening looking for a flat one because I didn't have any clean, white paper at home."

I wasn't sure what she meant, natrually. I started to unravel the bag from around what it contained, and as I did, she made the comment that she knew it was just a rock, but she hoped the picture made it more special.

I could have cried, and nearly did when she asked me if I liked it. I let her pick out the spot on my desk where she wanted to sit it, and we went about our day, but I couldn't keep myself from thinking about it. I took my lunch period to go out and buy her a package of heavy white cardstock, paint and a few brushes. I put them in her backpack, and hopefully she'll stumble upon them this weekend and put them to good use.

The days all teachers have, the days when we feel like we're nothing but a colossal failure, when the stress for proficient data and scores makes everyone irritable, adults and kids alike, I'm going to look at that rock and know, that if nothing else, I'm worthy of a rock with a flower painted on it--all that a parentless, poverty stricken, sweet child has to give, and know that I'm exactly where I need to be.
hbarthbart on October 8th, 2016 03:50 am (UTC)
What a great story! A good reminder that our situations don't define us. I'd imagine those are the moments that make it all worth it.
LaraLeelaralee88 on October 9th, 2016 06:45 pm (UTC)
Moments like that are sometimes rare in education, but when they happen it's an awesome feeling.
I'm not gay, but $20 is $20.: pic#126576516mywitch on October 8th, 2016 07:21 am (UTC)
How beautiful! What a sweet girl. And thank you for splashing out for some art supplies - I KNOW she's in heaven over it. I would have done nearly anything for some blank paper when I was a kid. :D
LaraLeelaralee88 on October 9th, 2016 06:47 pm (UTC)
I hope she likes them! She's always drawing and coloring during free time, so if I can help nurture that in anyway, in going to.
dickgloucesterdickgloucester on October 8th, 2016 02:24 pm (UTC)
This brought tears to my eyes.
LaraLeelaralee88 on October 9th, 2016 06:48 pm (UTC)
That was me on Friday! She really is the sweetest thing, and to get something like that just made my day. Those moments are why I went into the field to begin with, and when they happen it's a great feeling.
orlando_switchorlando_switch on October 18th, 2016 08:42 pm (UTC)
This was so touching. Did you see her after the weekend? She must know you gave her the paper, paint and brushes.
LaraLeelaralee88 on October 19th, 2016 10:01 pm (UTC)
P was very happy! She drew me a picture over the weekend and wrote a thank you note. Her grandmother also wrote me a note thanking me too, because she just did not have the means to get it for her, but was glad someone took the time to notice she wanted it.