I will start off by saying that my little family is healthy and safe. The little man is doing well, he had his first set of immunizations yesterday with a slight fever but seems to be feeling a lot better today.
Something happened three days ago that I hoped would never happen in my teaching career. In fact it is so difficult that I’m having trouble putting words to how I feel because I can’t figure out how I actually feel. I live in a small town of about 18,000 and this has rocked our community to the core. A student that I had in my class in kindergarten and grade one who is now currently in grade 2 was killed in a horrific car accident along with his mother. I job shared in kindergarten and taught him part time and purposely put him on my class list for full time grade one because I enjoyed him so much. M taught him at preschool for two years before I had him in kindergarten and grade one so we have quite the connection to this child and his family. Right now I am home on mat leave for the year and feeling weirdly disconnected from the school community so I don’t really know what to do. Last night I went to my old class website and went back through the whole school year to look at every picture I have with him in it. I don’t know if I’m in shock or being realistic or just naïve. I don’t know what feel. I feel heartbroken for the family and nervous of how all the children are coping and I also feel thankful that I was able to have those two years with him. He was 7. 7 years old.
When you become a teacher they tell you not to have favorites but I can say without a doubt he was my favorite student and it was obvious. He was quite the little monkey who would often get in trouble outside at recess and lunch but I never had a problem with him we just “got” each other. He is definitely the child I connected with most in my career thus far. I’m so glad I let him get away with all the little shenanigans he pulled and really had the time to connect and bond with him. I loved him.
Because his younger sister still goes to M’s daycare and I taught him we both had quite a connection with his mom. In fact the day before we flew out for Christmas holidays the daycare was having a Christmas concert and we had quite a long chat with her and she got to meet and hold our baby and we talked about her sons school year and how much I missed him. I told her I would try to be his teacher next year in grade 3 and we told her that we hoped our son grows up to have parts of her son in him as we both thought he was such a neat kid.
This boy was unsual but not strange. I keep racking my brain for some of the stories he told me as any day of the year I was able to tell the whole staff at lunch a funny story he said but of course I can’t think of anything now. That’s bothering me. I’m scared I won’t ever be able to remember any of the funny things he did. His mom told him for his birthday in June he could have a big party if he wanted to invite the whole class and he told his mom no thank you I would only like to invite my one friend and me (his teacher). He often asked me if I could play “what does the Fox say” on the projector for the class to dance to it and mostly I obliged. It was fun. He always sat beside me during school assemblies and in class meetings. Sometimes out of choice and sometimes out of necessity.
I wonder if I feel weird about this whole situation because I now have my own son. I do feel terribly sad but I look at my little boy who right now is waking up from sleep and smiling at me and I think that I need to be thankful for my good life. Mostly my feeling is that I don’t want him to be forgotten. I also hope that I never have to go through this again with another student in the rest of my career. I feel like I have no words. I am so sad.