Working as an educator on the elementary level, you run into many situations. Some are good, like winning the field day events. Some are bad, like having a student to move. Some leave you with a sketched memory implanted on your heart. This young man left that sketched memory on me.
He was the smallest one in the class, with straggly curly hair and baggy clothes that were clearly several sizes too big. My student had that look of being neglected, but he didn’t really let it affect his desire to learn. It was as if school was his safe zone. He would wear whatever if he could come to class.
I never worried about the other kids picking on him in my class because we had a rule that we were family and family would help one another. There would be days that an event from earlier in the day would spill over in my class, but we would address it immediately. He was my student I wanted to rescue, to save. I felt safe when he was at school, but it was the hours when he was home that worried me the most.
One day it was so bad, imagine a child needing size 10 clothing, but wearing size 16 clothing with no belt. That wasn’t the worst part, his shoes were a few sizes too big and today they had dog crap on them. The smell begins to cover the room and to keep the kids from being detectives and figuring it out, I call my dear student to my desk and informed him that we needed to go to the counselor’s office.
There waiting for him were some accurate sized clothing, nice shoes that fit, and a nice belt. I was happy to do what I could. The hurt I felt everyday seeing him dressed like that was becoming unbearable. I wasn’t concerned with what his mom would say because it was done confidential. What stood out to me the most was the reaction he displayed when he received his new clothing. His face lit up like the first time the Christmas lights are lit on a tree and a house.
He was a good kid, but he showed improvements academically and socially. We finished the year strong and I left the following year, but I will always remember how he faced adversity that was out of his control. He taught me that no matter how tough the circumstances are, you still show up and give it all that you have.