The most surprising thing about my job is when the adults that I manage come in to my office to tell me their personal struggles, and look to me for advice. I have no idea what to tell them when they share that their spouse is leaving them, their child is in trouble, their sibling drinks too much, their sister is dying. I see their hurt, shock, panic, anger, and just listen. When they press for advice, the best I can think of to say is to take care of themselves, and do what they would advise their best friend to do if they were in that same situation.
This is, and probably always will be, such unfamiliar territory. I thought when I took this job that I would make an impact on children. I didn’t think about the adults other than inspiring and guiding them to be better teachers. Even if I can relate, I’m sure they don’t want to know my struggles, that’s not why they are coming to me. After they leave, I feel their burden and pray.
Then I have to think about the students that are in their charge, and watch them closely, to make sure they are still able to do their jobs. That’s the other thing: choosing between a teacher’s welfare and the welfare of the students. Of course, the children come first, but its not easy, especially if it is a stellar teacher. So I listen, provide support, keep an eye out, pray, and sometimes shut my office door and cry.