There's this extracurricular activity that another teacher and I lead. We've done it for a few years now, and some of the girls involved in it have become friends. Well, I don't know if that is the right word, because there's a twelve year age difference between us and obviously we don't confide in them. They do confide in us, though. Last night one of the girls told my colleague something that broke my heart. She told her that she had a problem involving auto-mutilation, and even showed her arm.
I thought I knew this girl. I thought she was a happy, bouncy teenager whose only problems could be what time to get home after a party or what clothes to wear. But I was wrong.
There's nothing I can do for this girl. I don't even teach at her building. Thank goodness she told my colleague that she had been talking to the school's counselor, so she is getting help. But I feel slightly powerless. Sure, I can pray for her and be nice to her. But somehow that doesn't feel like it's enough.
Getting attached to your students is a good thing, but it also has its downside...