Thursday, March 22, 2007

Unexpected Milestones

Today I was about to go into my principal's office for a meeting with him when I stopped short because there was a student in there being handcuffed by two police officers. I was stunned by the sight of a child being arrested. I turned around and walked back towards my classroom with a huge smile on my face.

This time last year I was working in a place in which children being arrested was absolutely the norm. What I once feared was permanent damage to my view of the world seems to have been wiped away in a relatively short period of time. While I still hold on to my experiences during those rough two years, I am feeling like myself again: violence disturbs me, I feel fear when it is appropriate, and I am not thoroughly exhausted mentally and emotionally.

This time two years ago a student unexpectedly picked up a stack of textbooks and threw them at my head. After calmly asking a para to take him to the dean, I continued with the lesson as if nothing had happened. My heartrate didn't increase the tiniest bit. At that point, I became obsessed with the idea that my fight-or-flight response had disappeared as a response to the environment I was working in.

So, yes, I smiled. Because knowing that I am once more capable of what I would consider appropriate responses to stressful or upsetting situations makes me feel like a balanced being once more. It's been too long...

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