There are days when I don't enjoy my job. Lately, I have dreaded some of my responsibilities. I am a school counselor, and while I love working with my students, I do not enjoy having to provide grief counseling. This has been a rough couple of weeks that has tested my strength and that of my students. I had a student shot and killed on Nov 1, then on Nov 11 there was a stabbing in the school. Finally another one of my students was involved in an accidental shooting in his home on Nov 15. These three events have affected everyone in our school community greatly.
In the days after the last shooting incident, I was visiting the young man's classes discussing the situation with students and giving them the opportunity to process what had happened and try to de-stress, considering the last few weeks. Much to my surprise, it was a pleasant experience. I think the kids I spoke with were glad for the opportunity to speak up and ask questions. When I went to the young man's Government class, we got into a great discussion and I felt good about things. Then as I left, I got a round of applause! I was so touched. Teens are so hard to please these days and that applause meant more to me than I can express. I let the moment wash over me knowing full well I may never experience that again. The next day I visited his English class and received the same treatment! I could be misinterpreting the applause, but I don't care! It made me feel as though my visit mattered to them and during this crappy time, I will take what I can get!
On a final note, I have one more surprising moment to share. I have a parent who speaks little English and is feeling the ever widening cultural divide between her traditional Vietnamese upbringing and her 14 year old son's American ways. He doesn't share anything with her and that makes her nervous. She comes to see me every 2 weeks or so to check on how he is doing. I print out his current grades (which are always A's & B's) as well as his attendance (no absences or tardies) and let her know things are fine. Well yesterday, she came in again for an update. I gave her the print outs and tried to reassure her that her son is doing well. She then hands me a bag containing home made cookies as a thank you for my help. She wished me a Happy Thanksgiving and was on her way. Those cookies were delicious, but the "thank you" was even better!