I want to help. No, really!
But most of the time, I find myself not knowing how to. I don’t know what you need to hear. I don’t know what you’re dealing with. What’s going on in your world? What encouragement can I offer you today? How can I help?
I find myself at a place in life where I know where I want to end up, but wow, I have no idea on how to get there. Funny enough, where I want to be has a lot to do with other people; more than what it has to do with me, anyway.
I need to connect with people. This task is more difficult that I thought it would be. I get to work as a substitute teacher at a couple of high schools, which puts me in contact with those that I want to help the most. But whether they’re studying or Snapchatting each other from across the room, it’s hard to feel like I have the right to intrude upon their lives. Why do I feel so sheepish around them? How do I tell them that they can come to me with any question–academic or otherwise–and know that I care deeply for them?
The truth is, I care a lot. I know it may not seem that way if you should see me interacting with them in the classroom or hall, but that’s because I know I haven’t earned an honored place of trust in their lives yet. I know we’re all still just getting to know each other, but I’m ready. I’m ready for them to let me in. Not for my sake, but because I’ve been where they are and I want to help them navigate the rough waters of adolescence. Of relationships. Of figuring out who they are and who they want to become.
If you’re one of my students (yes, you’re mine now; I have the substitute badge to prove it!), please bear with me. I don’t know how to do this well yet. Sometimes I’m shy. Come and talk to me. I’ll try to buck up the courage to do the same for you. If I ask how your day is going, I want an honest answer. I want to help. I want to be a listening ear.