One more hug

I’ve realized recently that some of my favorite kids are the ones with sort of a rough exterior that I can eventually get to open up to me. The ones that–I imagine–don’t trust easily because they’ve been hurt repeatedly. 

One such girl won my heart last semester. Some days (especially in the beginning) it was quite the battle to get her to do any work. But she eventually decided she liked her teachers enough to do some math. 

Because she is deficient in credits, this young lady has decided to take an alternative route to finishing her high school degree. She is still in our district, but no longer in my class. I have mixed feelings about this route, but if it gets her to that stage in May, I am ultimately a supporter. 

She came by my room today to tell me how things were going. I haven’t seen her this happy in…maybe ever. I hope the enthusiasm stays and manifests itself in the form of passing classes. 

Before she left, she said, “I just need one more hug.”

I jumped out of my seat maybe a bit too eagerly. 

This is a girl who refused a hug when I offered one last semester during one of her “bad days.” 

So, yes child, you can have another hug. As many as you need. 

I pray this girl finishes her diploma…because she has so much to give the world. All our kids do. But kids are not all given the same opportunities or the same advantages. The number of kids who don’t have parents who are present physically and emotionally is heartbreaking. I think about how many advantages my son already has compared to so many others simply because of the family he was born into…and it hurts.

My kid isn’t any better than any other kid. 

He doesn’t deserve any more than any other kid. 

And yet here we are. 

But this is the beauty of public education: that we do our very best to level the playing field for all kids. We understand that not everyone begins at the same starting line. And that’s not fair. But educators take it upon themselves to get kids closer to the same finish line, regardless of where they came from or where they started. Is the finish line exactly the same for every kid? Absolutely not. But equity and access are forever our goals. And we will fight for these rights for every kid. 

I hope you join us. I hope you support your local public schools. If you don’t know any kids at that school, maybe you should. Maybe they’re waiting for someone like you to learn their stories and be in their corner. 

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