I wrote this my first year teaching.  It was an exercise to place myself in one of my favorite, but most troubled student’s circumstances.  I once had a wise man tell me that one cannot get angry when splashed by a drowning person.  So, I try to be cognizant that many of those who surround, are drowning.  I have highlighted many of the frustrations that are coming from both ends.  Students carry many a need that we are not equipped to meet and as teachers.  As teachers, it is difficult to be able to connect and be able to give what each of our students need, but the challenge is to not look at each, as “just another”.  Fill in the blank with the stereotype they fit.  Be real, and the conversations will present themselves, and your perspective will be different when things we cannot relate to, go down.  When I taught at the high school, I would read this to my class without them knowing the author. Each kid would underline the line that resonated most with them, or that “they saw in a friend”. It facilitated many different perspectives and once I told them that I had written it, their perspective of me changed from not understanding them to me having a deep care for their wellbeing. This lesson transcends beyond the classroom.  It is a perspective that if maintained, will make a better human, a better citizen, better father or mother, and a person who will have the opportunity to be apart of another’s life.  And who knows, it may just break someone’s cycle….love, transparency, and understanding between two people are the instrument for which the Healer speaks the deepest.

“just another”

i once said that i could not wait to be 16, so i could quit school.

You quickly replied that i would be a fool.

You say that education opens one’s eyes.

Well, i have seen more than anyone should ever have to see.

You once said that i have so much potential, but i have never done a thing right.

You try to teach me love, but the only love i have ever known makes me feel worthless.

You try to teach me how to handle money.  i want to know how to handle my rage!

You try to teach me how to care, but i have never seen anything worth caring for.

You try to teach me Shakespeare, but you cannot read my fear.

You expect me to be open, to place my heart on my sleeve

But you do not know that the only way to survive, is to not let a thing through to me.

You say that i need to know my history.

All the history i know, is half my friends will be dead or in prison before their 21st, and history will probably repeat itself.

Every hand that has ever reached out, has been a closed fist.

Every favor given has expected one in return.

Every one of my childhood dreams were crushed at my birth.

i was never a child, instead i raised my younger siblings.

i was born into the cycle.  i do not know of any other way to live, but many expect me to.

The bell rings, but i do not want to go home.

My mom and I always fight, but she taught me how to make these choices.

i act up because i would rather look tough than dumb, and my teachers do not understand.

You ask if everything is fine, but honestly, you are afraid to listen to the horrid truth that anyone else’s lies cannot match.

So, criticize me.  Put me down.  i guess i am like the rest.

Teach me things i will never need to know.

Try to break me.  i am already shattered.

i don’t blame you for passing me on.  i would do the same.

Some say fate is predestined.  i often believe the lies, but sometimes i hope not.

i do want to see the epiphany that will be my salvation, but my mind is never clear, my heart is never peaceful, and my eyes cannot see for the dark.

i try to get your attention, but you say cutting my wrist is not the right way.  So, you place a band-aide on it and excuse my absence.

Sometimes i hope i would die in an attempt for something better.

i saw a peek of you before, but you were afraid to be real too.

i have nothing to offer, and i know that i am of no benefit to you.

So, overlook the bleeding heart, the silent cries, and the needs my parents will never fulfill.  Needs a school is not supposed to meet.

Get angry at my attempts for attention and lack of motivation.

Continue to do your job and we will go through the motions.

i will sit here with my head on my desk, and you will miss the chance to make an impact on Me, but you will never see what you missed because i was just another……

It would just take one of you, but i will resign,

i will fulfill the prophecy i was born to fulfill, as i live this life…….dead.

One thought on ““just another”

  1. This was tough because I know there are times I just want to lump students into generalizations, but so much of this resonated with why I’m drawn to work with youth. There is so much in them that they are waiting to reveal to someone who has the time.
    This line… “the bell rings, but I do not want to go home…” was powerful in many ways…
    Thank you for sharing this!

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