|Thanks to DL Henry for this picture.|
In the middle of what was already a trying time one of our families lost their home and three beloved dogs to a fire. I was devastated for them, and immediately thought to myself "I can't handle this!" Not because I had too much on my plate, but it was hitting so close (too close) to home. I was heartbroken for the family and my heart ached so much for the 1st grader that I didn't know if I could talk to her without crying. I called our social worker and said "help!" Before she could make it in today my precious student came to see me. I made it through five pages of "The 10th Good Thing About Barney" before I felt the tears streaming down my face.
I felt awful, I felt unprofessional, I felt as though I was being hurtful not helpful. I debated going home, but wanted to stay for her. We made flowers together. Three, one for each dog lost, and we decorate the petals with her favorite memories of each dog. One of the dogs was pregnant at the time and she shared in one way she was happy they passed away because it meant they didn't have to give up the puppies and now they could all be together forever. I could barely say a word. I was just guilt ridden. Our librarian told me at lunch she was glad I stayed, that I was what the student needed, that it was ok to be honest and real with her, to show her I care. So today I ask counselors the discuss the following:
1) Is it ok to show that much emotion to your students? Is it ok for you to cry with them?
2) If it's not, is it ok to refer out?
3) How do you balance your personal and professional lives?