Finding the Right Distance

sweden.jpgThere are moments when I feel teaching is wearisome because the students don’t take their work seriously and I have the feeling I am the one who cares about their future, although deep down I know that things are much motre complex than that.

At the moment what I find hard is to witness the difficulties those kids have to face. There are those whose parents don’t seem to care; like a girl who took part in the exchange and whose mother had forgotten to check the different documents she was supposed to have with her when we went to Sweden and who had to stay behind. She joined us two days later but, when this happened, her friends told us that at home she was responsible for more things than is usually expected from a 17-year-old.

There are the kids who are brought up by a single parent (usually a mom) who can’t make ends meet or else can’t cope since she has to deal with a job and kids who have no supervision most of the time. I met one such mom the other day. She explained that she has to be up very early every morning and is so tired in the evenig that she will go to bed before her kids. As a result her eldest son stays up late, playing the guitar or chatting online. The problem is that the next day he isn’t able to wake up and thus skips school.

There is the senior who suffers from cystic fibrosis and carries oxygen bottles on her back in a rucksack. School and the coming exams are the things that keep her going. Yet, apparently, she is poorly at the moment and I fear she’ll worry she might fail her exams and thus lose her stamina.

They need our empathy and compassion but at the same time they’re not our children. They always leave in the end while we stay on. I trust that we need to show that we care and are ready to listen, answer questions even give advice . However there is only so much we can do despite our good will. We have limits but, at times, they are hard to accept.