|at Two Writing Teachers!|
So today, like always, I knelt beside this particular crying student and then asked if she wanted to go talk in the hallway. But today was different, and I wasn't prepared for what she would say.
First of all, I could barely get her to say anything. The crying turned into sobbing once we got into the hallway, and I had to resort to yes/no questions. "Are you sick?" (shaking head no.) "Is someone being mean to you?" (no again.) "Is it something with this class?" (Still no, thank goodness!) "Is it one of your friends?" (nodding yes.)
"Oh, ok, what's going on?" I figure it's going to be girl drama, but...
She's an advanced ELL, but it comes spilling out in Spanish. "Mi mejor amigo...que está en México..." (More sobbing.) "...lo mataron." (My best (male) friend... back in Mexico... they killed him.")
My heart feels like it just plummeted through the floor and my hair stands on end. "I'm so sorry..." I pull her in for a hug and she cries against my shoulder for a second. When she pulls back, I just have to ask. "The drug gangs?"
Still crying, she nods. "Los narcos... They killed him on Saturday but I just found out this morning."
I don't know what to say or do. There are no words for this. I ask about 3 times if she wants to go to the guidance office, but she says no. Class is almost over anyway. "If you need to leave class anytime, just go. And you know you can always come here if you need to," I assure her. "Just tell your teachers you need to come to ESL and they can call me if they want." Nodding, she starts to dry her tears. I ask if there's anything I can do to help or make her feel better, but she says no. "Let me know if you think of anything you need... If you want to write about it or talk about it, just tell me, ok?"
My heart is broken. I can't believe she got through a whole day of school holding this inside. Like many of my students' stories, this is going to stay with me for a long, long time.