Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Story where I got Emotional about a Student

It started with an email from a student whose work had taken a bit of a turn of late. I didn't enjoy her email - here are some snippets (unedited):

"I am really upset by last several grades I have gotten from you.  Do you honestly think that by just giving someone a zero you are doing them any good..."

"Seriously I think your ultimate goal is to fail everyone....... because that is pretty much how you are making me feel right now."

"I can say with all honestity it is by far the worse class I have ever taken and I can not wait till the end of December for it to be over."

Those are some doozies, no? I addressed every part of her email, I won't go into detail but I think I got through; this was her response:

"Thank you for responding my apoligies it has been a stressful couple of weeks and I guess i just finally snapped.  I have a daughter in the military and she is not doing well right now and was injured

I again apologies for my extremely insulting remarks you are correct one should never email while angry."
It got to me that the situation with her daughter must be consuming her. I send another email just letting her know that I was sorry about the situation with her daughter and I could imagine how hard that must be. I reminded her that I knew from her earlier work in the course that she was a good student and I was mostly concerned because of the radical changes and so forth. She understood and send one more email and this is the one that made me particularly emotional:
"Thank you it is very hard especially when they are so sa far away but the marines have been very good with her and she should be home for a visit in Feb.  Add the upcoming holidays into that equation and its enough to drive a mother insane I havent seen her since August so it is very hard.  Knowing your child is hurt and you cant be there for her.  
However still doesnt excuse my behavior and I really am sorry for that."
This is the one that made me stop being a teacher completely and try to relate only as a fellow parent and that gave me a clearer understanding of how she must feel.
I am glad we worked it out but it was just another one of those teaching experiences that stops you in your tracks.

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