Fourth Grade Courage

Guest blog by Elizabeth Humphries

Grade 4 Teacher, Elizabeth Cashwell Elementary

Fayetteville, NC

I listen to the news on my way to school every morning. Reports are usually about crime and politics. One day this fall the reporter said a man raped, attacked, and maimed a woman while her two children tried to defend her. Utterly disgusted, I pulled into work and tried to forget this terrible news.

About an hour after I got to work I was shocked to discover that this incident involved my student and her mother.  One of my precious children had defended her mother while she was brutally attacked. Tears filled my eyes and sickness hit my stomach.

I was surprised when my student came to school the next day. She fell into my arms as she entered my room. We cried together. She explained her bravery, and she said she could overcome what had happened.

Since then, this girl has found the courage to move on. She has been placed in another home and she attends counseling. Throughout the whole ordeal she never stopped smiling. When I asked her how I could be brave, like her, she said: “Have teachers like you.”

This situation raised our awareness about students’ home circumstances. Their home lives can be difficult in many ways; so we have to provide a safe, caring environment at school. Being a teacher is not only about planning and presenting math and language lessons. It is also about building classroom communities and being the role models our children need.


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