Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tears and Bloody Noses

It's all in a day's work.

After school today, I was standing out front, helping the supervision process, when two little girls approached. One was crying and holding her hand to her nose. My immediate thought was, "Uh-oh..."

I hustled them into the office, calling out, "We've got a bloody nose!" as I ushered her back to the nurses' office. Our attendance clerk followed on our heels and guided the girl to a sink to wash, before showing her how to stop the bleeding.

Needless to say, the girl was pretty shaken. I guess she's never had a bloody nose before, and all that blood was upsetting. Her friend told us that someone had run by, accidentally hitting her in the nose. Typical after-school chaos.

She was absolutely fine after a few minutes. I went back to check on her and she had calmed down, and the bleeding had stopped. The attendance clerk had called her mom to let her know.

Earlier in the day, I was baffled to find one of my young charges, T, a first grade boy who I tutor in reading each day, crying in music class. He asked to go to the office, and since I've never seen him cry, I immediately got another boy to walk him there.

When the first-graders left my room, I walked up to the office, and found that T had never made it. I asked the first grade teachers and found that his teacher had seen him and taken him back to the classroom to talk. Turns out, he had seen his father dropping his little sister off at our preschool, and was upset that he couldn't go over and see him.

I admit, I have a soft spot for this little guy. He is in his 2nd year as a first grader. A year ago, he could not read, and he barely spoke in class. He was never a behavior problem, he just didn't understand. Also, he had a speech problem. The decision was made to retain him, with full support from his parents, who work with him at home. This year, he is reading with confidence, and his teacher told me he raises his hand more in class and is more outgoing. I've seen it before, where a child struggles and then--boom! Suddenly something clicks and they hit the ground running. His speech has improved, and this year he's in speech therapy to help with a few leftover issues (his "r" sounds are very Bostonian--it's cute, but it does need to be corrected). Oh, and he can't make the "th" sound--but that's because all of his front teeth are missing!

Needless to say, his crying today was cause for concern, and I'm glad his teacher found him and gave him some attention.

I've barely scratched the surface of the typical daily drama at a K-8 school. The ladies in the office see much more than any individual teacher does. I love my job, so the tears and bloody noses don't worry me too much--I'm just glad I can give these children something, even if it's only a kind word and a rushed entrance to the nurses' office.

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