Whilst Kay has had a busy week at work considering fixed and growth mindsets and has been able to reflect on her ICT growth since starting Uni, my past week could be no less similar. Whilst still in the throes of completing Assignment 2 and feeling very much weighed down by the looming deadline, I have had an emotional week. I’m sorry to say, there’s no ICT or anything technological for me to amplify or transform you with, just a heartfelt recount of a few days in my past week. I usually keep things of a personal nature very close to me but this topic is one that can’t be shied away from and should be aired. Feel free to read on or move on, its up to you ………
One night last week, I received quite a distressed phone call from a past student I worked with around 6 years ago. He was one of those students who despite many annoying features, gets into your heart and endears himself to everyone he meets. We had maintained contact (through his Mum’s mobile phone) and all 3 of us had enjoyed catching up during school holidays from time to time. He completed Year 12 at the end of last year and was at quite a loss as to what the future might hold for him. His Mum had been his foster Mum since birth and he was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome as well as autism and his biological mother had died soon after his birth. He came out as gay last year and his foster Dad did not handle this revelation very well and so they had had little contact after that. Only recently had they started to rebuild their relationship and find mutual, loving ground to work on. Unfortunately, foster Dad took his own life last Saturday, devastating my past student although, as he has autism, he didn’t really know how to respond.
Unlike the student I knew, he had remained in complete control and hadn’t shed a single tear and kept asking me how he was supposed to feel. At the funeral, he initially presented as being quite calm (he even stood up with his sister providing her with physical and moral support as she spoke of their father) but at the very end, he lost it. Big time. Finally he was able to let it out. Everything he was feeling or thought he should feel came flooding out and I feel so privileged to have been able to be there and once again support this beautiful young man at this time.
There was no explanation why his Dad did what he did and he hadn’t apparently shown any signs of his intention. This really serves to remind me of the impact we can have on our students through what we say and how we make them feel and I just really want to be there to continue to support him (long after he has been a student I had the pleasure of working with for 3 years).
If you or anyone you know is feeling anxious or dealing with depressive feelings, please just be there for them and encourage them, or if you can’t, put them in touch with Beyond Blue.