Sharing Hidden Scars

Sharing Hidden Scars

Sarah E. Pennington (Montana State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2971-3.ch009

Abstract

As a middle grades teacher, the author made positive student-teacher relationships a priority within her classroom. In this narrative, she describes how sharing her own invisible scars with her students provided an opportunity for one particular student to come to her after this student experienced a sexual assault. By allowing her students a glimpse at her own humanity, this teacher was able to serve as an advocate for a student who was struggling to move forward in dealing with her own trauma.
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The One Who Needs You

As a teacher I realize that my students need me to be there for them every day, not just to teach academics, but to support them as take steps toward achieving their long-term goals. But some students need you more than others. And, at some point, there will be one student who needs you more than you realize; one whose life your compassion and care can alter for the better.

I stood at the door welcoming each student who walked into my classroom for language arts. Leslie walked in reluctantly on that first day of her eighth-grade year, acknowledging my greeting with a polite nod but otherwise not engaging with me. Even among the quirky group of students in the gifted program, she stood out; she was tall for her age and heavy-set with a tomboy crew cut and worn Chuck Taylors on her feet. She rarely spoke up in class those first few days, and I had been warned not to push her or she might shut down completely. Her work was always top-notch; thoughtful and creative, expressing her understanding with a wisdom that was uncanny for her age. Thus, I had been told by her previous teachers to let her be, as she was succeeding academically.

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