I'm feeling a little down today, after another quiet chat with one of my students. He's such a nice fellow - good student, loving husband and father, talented guitarist and songwriter. But he's been having one of those years, where every time he turns around, he gets slammed with something else. He has gone from being the first one to the classroom in the morning (we begin at 8 ACK! emma), alert and well-prepared, to coming in late and once even nodding off. At least I know why, so I don't take it personally.
The hardest thing is reminding myself every morning that when a student falls asleep in class, it may not be because he's a slacker & was up drinking last night, but because he's pulling double shifts to stay in school while single-handedly supporting & raising two kids and caring for his increasingly-senile grandmother who has a colostomy & keeps dropping & bursting her bag. That the reason another student hardly ever comes to class prepared or gets her assignments in on time is that she's still trying to find a safe place to live because her parents abuse her emotionally since they are strict Presbyterians & can't handle the fact that she's Wiccan. That the two students chit-chatting in the last row might be talking about trivialities, or one might be confiding in the other one about her continual feelings of guilt over having called the police on her father.
The first two are are among my favorite students, one present & one previous. The two chit-chatters - well, I don't know what they're talking about, & I've asked them repeatedly to stop, but I really do try hard not to get as angry as some profs do. Because you just never know.
That's life at a community college.