Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SOL #20: A Sudden Disappearance

As a teacher in an urban school district, there are a lot of comings and goings in my classroom. However, I will never get used to the sudden disappearance of one of my students. Here is a particular story about a recent disappearance.

 My 7th period class is lively and very close. We started with 28 at the beginning of the year and with dropouts and schedule changes we are now down to about 14 (most juniors and seniors do not have to have a 7th period, so they switched to a different class period to experience the joy of going home early).

She was a bright and energetic young woman with a beautiful singing voice. From time to time, we were lucky enough to hear her sing. Christmas break was celebrated with her rendition of a favorite carol. On another occasion we heard her sing one of her favorite songs. The silence that her songs left us with left no doubt about the impact of her voice.

She was such a hard worker. Her determination to figure out each puzzle and Mathematical nuance inspired others around her. Her classmates sought out her guidance.

Occasionally, I would see her during other classes ditching with her friends. She didn't choose the scholarly crowd. We would have conversations about the importance of going to class.

Then, a month ago, she disappeared. No closure happened; there was no chance to say goodbye. We are left to wonder. Did she fall in love with the wrong guy or girl? Is she experiencing a miracle of mother nature at an early age? Did the wrong friend convince her to stop attending class? Did she leave town? Why didn't she think to tell me what was going on - I thought she trusted me? The questions swirl around in my mind as I look at the empty seat in my classroom.

I ask her friends and they are vague - it seems they don't know either or they would never tell a teacher.

I try to replace closure with a prayer. I ask an angel to look over her. I remember we are all on our own journey and there is no room to judge her choice or lack of choice in the matter. Maybe this detour is leading her to a life she could never imagine. Goodbye.


  1. Oh, this is heartbreaking. She is lucky to have known you and the camaraderie of your classroom. I will send up a little prayer too.
    "Is she experiencing the miracle of mother nature at an early age." Perfect.

  2. Rob,
    You describe her many gifts beautifully. I am sure you are missing her in your classroom. How sad to not really know what has happened.


  3. This is a beautiful piece. I work at a school where lots of kids "disappear" and each one really does leave a hole in the class and in my heart.

  4. I'm sad for all of you Rob. I'm sure she appreciated your kindness and appreciation for her gifts. Maybe she will come back?