In my previous post I mentioned an educator who unconditionally loves all children. Not only does she love all children though, I she loves all people. Today I want to write about her a little bit more. This is the story of an amazing woman, and a boy who was failed.
When I started my first teaching job, I entered a school without children and teachers. It sounds bizarre, but they had all just left. Most of them, anyway. What had happened before? The school, private and with a different educational approach, accepted new students to their upper grades. Students who had failed elsewhere. The teachers were not prepared for that, many of those students showed behavioral difficulties and chaos had broken out in the new building that no one had gotten used to.
This is how Anke (I only dare use her first name for now) became to be the principal of the middle school in which I worked. A pre-school teacher, and pre-school administrator in a new and unexplored role, with new staff, new children and a lot of bad temper from parents. She smiled all the time. She was there for people. She was there for teachers and students and parents alike.
And then there was the boy. A boy who had been to so many schools (and not due to moving, simply because he was expelled) and needed to feel loved. He was “trouble”, no doubt. But we tried a lot to make him feel welcome and safe in our school. And even when things got hard, Anke would tell us that we can’t let him go, we can’t fail him.
Looking back, I realize how things went wrong. But also in a good way, because had it not been for Anke and another teacher, who went out of his way to get the boy the help he needed, the boy would have probably just been moved to another school.
However, with the experience I have now, I think I would have been a different person to him. I understand Anke now, when she said we can’t just let him go.
A woman, who so unconditionally loves, who is always there for everyone, is a hero in my eyes. A role-model. A woman who fights for the children in her care, in her class, in her school. A woman who does not scare away from trouble, from problems. Someone who faces up to even the toughest challenges. She continues to be a hero, with a new pre-school in Berlin. She is always on my mind!