I cried myself to sleep each Sunday night of the third grade.
I was a newcomer to the school where the only other people I knew were my brother and a childhood friend—both not in my class.⠀
In a split 3/4 class where I was among the youngest students, I felt intimidated by the older kids seated on the other side of the room.⠀
Our homeroom teacher took maternity leave in September, and we had substitute after substitute before one of the replacements took the contract for the remainder of the year.⠀
I barely made a friend that year. I couldn’t connect with any of the other nine students in my grade. The one person who befriended me manipulated our relationship and often left me with yucky feelings I couldn’t put words to back then.⠀
And, a tragedy befell one of our classmates early in that same year during school hours. Anyone within earshot of that side of the building witnessed it, including me.⠀
I don’t remember one academic concept I learned that year.
I have no fond memories of projects or events that were exciting and fun. I don’t know if I did well or if I just barely passed.⠀
I am sure some of my former students suffered those kinds of years while on my watch.⠀
How many students are feeling that way this very year?⠀
When traumatic events overtake a person’s thoughts, it’s incredibly difficult to focus on studies.
Let’s keep this in mind and offer our youngest minds a little grace.