I'm going to pass over all the ups and downs that happened before we even got to school (nothing like a road closed on your commute when you're already running late) or those during the school day (including the girl I had to speak with about scratching a classmate who later wrote "Ms. Orr is my BFF" as she worked in Pixie). Don't you just love how I'm passing over those parts of the roller coaster?
Because the serious, heart-in-your-throat, couldn't-go-higher-and-then-drop-lower, part of the roller coaster happened after school.
As my last kiddos were heading out my phone rang. It was my principal telling me there was a parent in the office registering their child for Head Start. As I, in my post-school haze, tried to figure out what on earth this might have to do with me, she continued and named the parent. Oh my. He was in my class about ten years ago, for both fourth and fifth grades. The backstory is here and I won't repeat it because today's story is enough.
Suffice it to say he has a darling three-year-old daughter (we looked at lots of pictures and videos on his phone), finished high school, and is working as a supervisor at a large retail spot nearby. He's doing well. It hasn't been easy; he and his daughter's mother are not together but are sharing parenting duties seemingly quite well. The high school diploma was shockingly hard to manage as he failed math his senior year. He attempted to take the course in summer school and in spite of registering and coughing up the money, he was told when he showed up on the first day that he wasn't on the roll and because the class was full he couldn't take it. (His money was refunded.) From his perspective his former principal made it exceptionally hard for him to finish this one course and it took teachers banding together and appealing higher up to make it happen. But he kept fighting for it and finally was able to take the course and graduate. Just more proof to me of his willingness to work hard and make things happen. (This barely touches on the challenges he has faced over the years.) We spent nearly half an hour talking and he promised to come and visit again. I told him to bring that little cutie with him! Cloud nine.
As he left I turned to chat briefly with another teacher and was grabbed by our office manager. She was on the phone with a mom because one of my students hadn't gotten off the bus. This happens on occasion and it scares me but I stay pretty optimistic. It always turns out the kiddo rode the wrong bus or walked home with a friend or headed to grandma's house. But this time I panicked immediately. This child hadn't been at school today. Optimism went out the window for me. Needless to say we kicked into gear immediately. We (office manager, me, two administrators, and three other teachers) talked with mom, dad, and big brother. We called various kids who ride the same bus to see what they could remember from the morning. We called other kids from my class to see if they had seen this little friend before school started this morning. We called the police. After about 45 minutes the student was found, safe and sound. I don't yet have all the details (and don't feel comfortable sharing some) so I will be so curious to hear the story tomorrow!
Teaching is always a roller coaster. I don't mind that, sometimes it's even fun. But I don't think I've ever gone from this high to this low this quickly.
Cross-posted from jenorr.com.