Friday, September 18, 2015

What happens when your kids go to jail?

What happens when your kids go to jail today?  Not if, but they did... What happens when you visit your community and your kids are not your kids anymore?  What happens when homeless parents come to school and pull their kids out to homeschool them when they have serious special needs? What happens when all of this happens and you are expected to keep a smile on your face.  Forget the fact that you may be a connected educator. I see "Rock Stars" without my population.  Guess what, my population is bringing it every day! Weekly video posted every week.  "Watch me Now" by Silento is in this video, just saying.


+Spike Cook said it perfectly in our small voxer group that was created to help with these questions.  Spike is one of the most reflective leaders that I have ever met.  I know from personal experience, we have done instructional rounds together and reflected on lessons face to face.   He said, "I understand it, I get it." That is all I needed.  Spike has been someone that I have looked up to in "real life" and on social media for a while.

All that being said, I had a former student get arrested last night.  $132,000 bail, 575 grams heroin, guns, endangering minors, etc.  10-15 years probably in jail.  This was not the first time, I have had former students get shot, died, etc.  This one was special though.  He was me, same personality, same demeanor, I look in mirror, and although we looked different, he was me.

This was the text I got this morning.  After that message was the link to the news story in our local paper.  Out of respect I am not posting that link. The message below is clear, we are angry that someone that we loved is in this situation.



I cried.... I was planning a professional development day of positive energy!  That did not happen... I was negative, I led off with this story and told the story of how we need to be there for "our kids" and if we don't prepare them, we all failed.  It was dead silent.  I then went on to review state test results, I was all negative, my message was all negative.  My math coach +Jessica Hoban saved me and acknowledge some positive, but I wanted everyone to suffer as I had early crying in my office.  It was selfish.

I want to apologize to my #cddolphins, as this story was not yours, it was mine.  I love my kids, I want all educators to love their kids too.  I go to bed thinking of them.  If they too are going to bed or sleeping at all.  I greet them on the bus court every morning, look in their eyes every day to see if they are ready.  If not, I pull them aside or hang on to them to make sure.  I need this check!

I sometime hear or see some connected educators talk about issues that are not important, and I wonder if they look in every kids' eyes every day to see if they are ready to be there and ready to learn.  I look, I observe, I get in your face if necessary, we all need to do that.  We are so important, and we need to make sure that every day we realize this, every minute.  Have fun! I am all for it, but look in your kids eyes and see what they see!


19 comments:

  1. I love your honesty. It's a challenge some days to put in a happy face but that's what our kids deserve. They deserve someone who is their advocate, someone who is their cheerleader and someone who will ask the hard questions! Thank you Doug for being you and for living your students! They are blessed to have you!

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    1. Thanks Mellisa,

      It has been a rough day keeping face.

      Doug

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  2. A dose of reality and being human is sometimes the best way to get a message out clearly. Appropriate transparency. I greet my students at my door every morning and try not to focus on starting at exactly 8:05 if there is a need. It is a great way to connect with my little friends. It is important to care about each sad story. Your school and community is fortunate to have you - a caring and dedicated leader.

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  3. A dose of reality and being human is sometimes the best way to get a message out clearly. Appropriate transparency. I greet my students at my door every morning and try not to focus on starting at exactly 8:05 if there is a need. It is a great way to connect with my little friends. It is important to care about each sad story. Your school and community is fortunate to have you - a caring and dedicated leader.

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  4. Thanks Karen. So important to make that first interaction positive.

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  5. I won't lie. You definitely made me cry, but your emotions were real. You are human. Not a school day goes by that I don't worry about my kids. Sure, they're our students, but you can't spend that much time with them and not call them your kids. And that doesn't just mean current kids, there are faces that I reflect in often. Hoping and praying they make the right choices, that someone else is watching out for them, and loves them like I still do.

    Our kids are the very best. They deserve nothing but the best. You bring them that every day.

    Thanks, Doug.

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    1. There is no other way to do our job. They are "our kids" if you go into this job with any other mindset, you might as well quit. Our parents want us to think of "their kids" as "our kids". If not we are not effective educators.

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  6. Doug - I wasn't at the mtg yesterday so I didn't hear what you had to say, but I can feel your pain. You have a kind heart and soul. We need to put ourselves in our children's places(as if we could for so many of our children) and give them the love and respect and they'll respond so much better and learn so much better. Continue to do what you do. It's not us vs them. They're all of our children and they deserve the best from us.

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    1. Thanks Jeri, I have a kind heart, but a drive that comes from an angry place. I was and am angry. This should not have happened! Too many details to share, but this should not have happened.

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  7. Yesterday I got my flu shot and it didn't feel good. I wake up everyday expecting to feel healthy. I knew I needed the shot because it'll help keep me safe during the flu season. It isn't a guarantee that I won't get sick. That's out of my hands.

    Last week I went to work to teach my KIDS. I presented material that I planned carefully that would be entertaining and informative to help them on an upcoming assessment. A few days later I watched, with mixed emotions, them take the test and saw some rise to the challenge and some that crashed and burned that SHOULDN'T have.

    You can bring a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

    You do NOT have to apologize. There were tears from you and from many of us too. Why us?

    We love to hear the praise and glory of #winning. We understand the times that we need to square up and get down to business too. But, we also believe in our KIDS.

    We cried with you because we felt your pain. We want only the best for our KIDS. They are and always will be our KIDS.

    Your KID knows what you did for him He heard your message. He will remember this.

    We cried with you because we are a tight-knit community that YOU helped to develop. Yes, we enjoy your positive messages and rallying cries, but we appreciated your emotional candor about your KID.

    Do NOT apologize. Do not apologize for being frustrated or sad. Do not apologize because you have made an impact on all of us with your message yesterday and your blog too. You are making an impact and do NOT apologize for that. You make a difference.

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    1. I won't apologize and appreciate your thoughts. I know we are in this together, I just got really derailed from what I had planned on doing. Sometimes fate takes us in a new direction at the last minutes.

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  8. Doug,
    I did not view what you said or did as negative. I didn't then and I don't now. We were silent and teary because we got it - we felt where you were coming from. They are "our kids" and we feel sad when something sad happens, we feel angry when they make poor choices just as we feel elated when they do great things! I have also had numerous students who made poor choices, but one sticks with me - this boy was the sweetest, most polite, hard working student - he was shy, a little insecure....but just grew in so many ways his 5th grade year. I had his sister also - I was in contact with mom over the years and saw her as her kids grew and she would keep me updated - this mom was a single mom working 2 jobs doing all that she could for her kids - he shot and killed a boy for $3.26. He WAS "my kid". So.. what you said wasn't negative - it just reminded us all of why we are here - why we made the choice to become a positive part of children's lives - it helped us remember, when sometimes we forget - it was a positive message - a heartfelt message - a REAL message. As Chrissie said, what you did, the positive messages you gave "your kids" (and continue to do with soooo many other kids) is still with them - it is in their head and their heart. Sometimes things that we have no control over, take control. Thanks for your honesty and your message. As for the test talk - again, scores are not what makes a kid. Success in life is not measured in test scores - so maybe the numbers were not where the district would like them to be, but our kids are learning, they are growing, they are enjoying their experiences and their relationships with the CD COMMUNITY! You are helping to make that happen -

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  9. Your response is really meaningful to me. I know you and I will get over tragedy as it is not ours, but it is still so hard to move on. I love your enthusiasm every day, especially when you hide the attendance from me! HAHA. Thanks again, knowing we have had similar experiences helps me realize that there are others out there that are angry about circumstances.

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  10. Doug,
    Thank you for being the caring individual that you are! This was very inspirational. I appreciate you for sharing! It is a wonderful thing when we make connections with our children and we look at them as we look at ourselves! ~ Hoping and praying that you will have a better week!

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    1. Thanks Rella, definitely gonna be a better week. I got to speak to his mom today and that really helped in hearing her strength and resolve to help him.

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  11. Hey Doug,
    I really appreciate and admire your ability to put it all out there. Reading your blog made me think about how important the work we do really is...We have the ability to save lives...not in the sense of a doctor or medicine...but in the sense of changing mindsets and helping our teachers see the good in ALL kids no matter how difficult it might be. As I sit here I can't stop thinking about the power of teacher language and how it can make or break a child. I'm more compelled than ever to do what is needed to make sure every student in my building feels a sense of belonging and significance. Keep fighting for our kids...we are lucky to have someone like you in our presence to remind us why what we do is so special. Have a GREAT day!

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  12. Thanks! We all do the work and need to be there for each other!

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  13. I didn't save you or need to save you. Your message on Friday was a reality that is sometimes forgotten. Your message did exactly what it was supposed to. It made us feel, it made mad, and it made us want to do better for our kids. I saw the hurt and anger you were feeling and like any good teammate would, I just offered a little pick me up. Like I said on Friday at our afternoon meeting, we're two completely different people, but the way we work definitely compliments each other. Thanks for being the inspiring leader that you are!

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  14. Thanks Jess. We are definitely different and definitely good for those checks and balances.

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