You come into my classroom late everyday. Your eyes to the floor, already in a bad mood. Some days, I wonder "How are you already this angry this early in the morning?" You sit at your desk. You refuse to do anything. You rip every paper given to you. You throw pencils, desks, anything you can get your hands on. You tease the other kids. You tell me you hate me. You cry. You scream. You yell. You mock me. You throw things at me.
There are days when your behavior makes me feel like a failure. I question if I am on the right path, if I made all the right decisions that led me to this place where I'm told that I'm hated, I'm mean, where things are thrown at me. I cry on the way to and from work because I'm just exhausted. I don't know how to handle the challenges you place before me. I don't know how to help you.
I've tried everything. I hope one day you'll be able to understand the amount of hours I put in outside of work, researching your condition, how to help you, what will work best to help you learn and grow and be happy. I hope one day you'll feel loved knowing I spend my money buying prizes and treats and something tangible you can put your hands on and say "I earned this" and feel pride in your work and who you are becoming.
Most days, I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of chaos. Your classmates look at me in the confusion and uncertainty. They wonder if they're safe and if they're going to be okay. I know you aren't learning. I know there is only so much I can do.
I used to think that only bad teachers had students like you in their classrooms. I thought good teachers had perfect, quiet, obedient students and only horrible teachers who should be fired had out of control classrooms. There are days when I go into the bathroom during lunch time and I look in the mirror and tell myself, "You can do this. You ARE a good teacher. You can do this. You made the right choice to be here." I say it as many times as it takes for me to believe because one tantrum from you can make me lose all confidence in myself.
I know you don't mean it. I know you're carrying a burden unimaginable inside. I know you don't know how to say it, how to ask for help, how to control your emotions. I know you don't have what you need to handle the challenges life has given you. Let me help. Please let me help you.
Go ahead. Throw the books. Rip the papers. Run away. Scream at me. Tell me you hate me. Call me mean and awful. Refuse to do anything. Lay on the floor. Throw a desk. Rip the books. Go ahead. Because I won't stop caring about you.
There's not one thing on this earth that would stop me from caring about you and your well-being. There's not one thing that would stop me from wanting to be your teacher. I love you, I care about you, I want you in our classroom. You belong here. You are important. You are unique and special. You challenge me in every way possible but I don't care. You're MY student. And MY students are cared about, welcomed, accepted, loved, thought about, desired and treasured.
Oh, and by the way, you aren't a bad kid. Don't let anyone tell you that.