I'm happiest to live in complete ignorance about my students' personal lives. Teaching where I do, I often learn things that tear me up inside.
I'm out of my classroom for a few weeks while an intern student teaches. I walked back in the vicinity of my room this afternoon, something I've avoided doing, and saw one of my students in the hall crying, waiting to talk with our counselor. I pulled the student into the empty workroom and asked what was wrong. The story I got could have been a soap opera.
The father left the mother for her sister, the child's aunt. This happened some time ago. The father has been lying to the mother and child. Now the aunt is claiming that the student is calling and cursing at her. She is telling the father this is happening and doing all she can to turn him against his child. The aunt is also calling this student and cursing. Finally, the student says to me, "And I'm not doing well in school."
It was all I could do to not cry. I told the child that school is not always the most important thing (is that a cardinal sin for a teacher) and that taking care of oneself is critical. I just sat with the student until the counselor was finished with her previous group (two of my other students, no less). School counselors are saints.
I'm amazed at the strength and perseverance shown by my students. I learn so much from them.