Confessions of an Empath Teacher in the Days of Social Media Overdoses

I feel the pain of others.

As a teacher of at-risk students, this quality has always served me well…until recently.

Once, I was able to see the pain in the eyes of my students, and find the right words to convince them to let me in. The toughest of kids did not phase me as I knew that I had what it took to keep pushing until they realized that I was truly on their life team.

Recently, however, I seem to have hit a wall with many of those in my classroom. I’m quite certain it’s a lack of connection due to technology addiction and social media overdoses. What I once thought I was intended to share…a witty sense of humor and hard-earned wisdom from life’s lessons, are now missed and dismissed on a daily basis.

I want to connect. I try to connect. I only know how to teach through connection. But it seems that many young people are completely uninterested in allowing those connections to exist. In fact, some seem dead-set on NOT connecting to anyone personally, only technologically.

As much as I can see what I believe are societal and external causes for the disconnect, I can’t deny the huge responsibility I carry for the loss of what I once felt was a professional gift. I don’t want to believe that the possibility of regaining the spark and ability to inspire is truly gone.

I’m searching. Praying for the moment when I see the light in a student’s eye that says we’ve made a breakthrough…the time when a struggling soul thanks me for listening…the time when a broken young person believes me when I tell them that they CAN overcome their environment.

If you are a teacher and you can relate, I’d love to hear from you. This is spiritual warfare. My spirit is solidly set on the goal of encouragement and empowerment of young people. I am completely aware that “they know not what they do”. But, we MUST reach them to ensure the promise of a bright future for all.

So Proud of My Girl…She’s My Hero!💙💪🏻🤓🙏🏻

We just got home from our family vacation to Yellowstone. It was beyond beautiful, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to share the wondrous scenery of that place with my parents, husband, daughter, and niece. My Girl is 13 now, and going through many changes and growing pains. We’ve navigated them pretty well so far, including a few middle school lessons in dealing with disappointment. I’ve taught teenagers for ten years now, and I’ve long anticipated (sometimes excitedly and others anxiously) my daughter’s arrival to this stage. She is intelligent and kind, strong-willed, and has a confidence that it took me decades to gain.

I don’t write about her much because she’s her own person, a lover of reading and writing, and her story belongs to her. However, today we received notification that the scores for this year’s standardized tests were available; she was so excited to see the results because, well…school is her “thing”.

(And books…part of her prized collection👆🏻📚✔️)

I must interject here and say that as a teacher, I’m not a huge advocate of standardized tests, nor am I a fan of the stress placed on students with challenges who struggle to answer enough questions correctly to go on to the next grade or graduate. But that’s another can of worms I won’t open right now.

While I’ve been busy and many times ridiculously preoccupied with all things breast cancer related for the past 5 years, she has immersed herself in books, allowing stories to whisk her away from a reality that was at times just too much for her to process or understand. Her friends and many of the kids around her have spent the past several years developing a passion for sports or other activities, and she’s been reading and enjoying meeting with her church’s youth group. Sports are given a huge amount of attention where we live, so I have seen the struggle she’s faced of not necessarily fitting “the mold”. Next year, her horizons will expand at school to include Theatre Production, Student Council, and Leadership duties with her church Youth group.

So, today, when my girl looked at her scores and beamed with pride when she saw that she scored in the 98th percentile in Writing, and ONE-HUNDREDTH percentile in Reading, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. Her Lexile score is 1600; equivalent to what is required for Grad Students in college. Remember, she’s only starting 8th grade next year. She wishes to be a journalist, and is already researching the best colleges for her area of interest, and plans to become a Foreign-exchange student during her senior year in high school. Although she’s grown up in a rural community in a Southern state, she longs for a life in a bustling urban area on the East Coast, with plans for extensive travel.

While I know that life is not always easy, and she’s sure to have her share of challenges along the way, today I am beyond proud of her determination and dedication to living God’s intended purpose for her life. What a beautiful thing to witness her strengths and hard work aligning with her goals. I believe in her more than anything, and I cannot wait to see her journey continue to unfold.

What a blessing it is to be a Momma to My Girl. Wishing all parents the blessing of seeing your kids achieve all of their dreams. Prayers for all of our children to have the faith, strength, and confidence to pursue whatever they desire that is good. 🙏🏻💙

Here’s to a life that’s peaceful ahead for us andthem.