I just got out of the shower, where I cried for my students, the water masking my sobs. I stared at the glass shower door, seeing their words, and remembering the things they taught me.
Earlier, surrounded by strewn papers and scribbled notes, I read my students' stories. I held a purple pen, intending to attack the essays with suggestions, compliments, edits. But as the stories unraveled, I found myself forgetting my pen, and caring only that I kept reading. Because, armed with words, they let me into their lives. And what I saw was beautiful and harrowing and raw.
They understand love, and trust, and selflessness. They know what it feels like to be alone and misunderstood. They walk into classrooms and parties and sporting events. Some days, when they enter, they feel at home; other days, out of place. They've experienced loss and they've experienced gain. They are discovering who they are, who they want to be.
Despite, or because of their vulnerability, they let me really see them, or a part of them. And I am better for it. Because I remember-
Behind every student, is a story.
And I resolve, as my sole New Year's resolution, to keep remembering. During fourteen hour days, and long bus rides, and grading, I will stop, and I will breath, and I will remember. Everyone has a story. And every story deserves kind eyes.