Thursday, July 30, 2009

years ago i met with my first student with full on suicidal ideation. she wouldn't be the last...nor would she be the last student of mine that i tried to reach out to. i remembered that night when i learned that she's now ok, more than ok...i've been meaning to talk about was my job...wasn't it? to be there for my students even if it gets deep? i was reprimanded numerous other times for re-directing a few other lost souls from the long dark night...and eventually i'd get fired three times because of "unprofessional conduct." but why is it unprofessional to offer a lifeline?

i got my teaching ratings packet from the spring class, you know...the one i was fired but "not fired fired" from? 4.0/ lowest scores ever but way higher than other people's best scores. the ratings system here is highly overrated. the main comments? all about how the department handled the situation, sticking them with another teacher in the last third of the class, and never explaining where i went. in other words...they wanted the truth. that job will always remain an enigma to me because i never really found out why they thought it was so unprofessional to try to get my student some help...i guess i'm in the wrong profession.

so talking to someone with a suicide plan goes a little something like this:step one you say we need to talk
(s)he walks you say sit down it's just a talk
(s)he smiles politely back at you
you stare politely right on through
some sort of window to your right
as (s)he goes left and you stay right
between the lines of fear and blame
you begin to wonder why you came
it's frustrating as hell because you have no idea if you are getting through and you sit for hours in silence because they don't trust you...why should they? i was part of the system therefore i was probably the one that they should trust the least...if they only knew you were there for them and not the system...that by being there, you are going against the system...and i would have stayed up with you all night

had i known how to save a life
but i many times, with so many people all these years...but it's your first that will never leave's the first that will scare the hell out of you...let h(er) know that you know best
cause after all you do know best
try to slip past h(er) defense
without granting innocence
lay down a list of what is wrong
the things you've told h(er) all along
and pray to god (s)he hears you
and pray to god (s)he hears you
i agreed to meet at an appointed time and when i couldn't find her and her door was locked i grabbed her roommate who had the keys...i then had the bottle in my hands, the empty bottle in my hands...calling 911...30 hours later the psych consult finally arrived at the hospital after the stomach pump...i called her family because the doctor didn't have time to do it...another system and their devotees...where did i go wrong, i lost a friend
somewhere along in the bitterness
after that? i was reprimanded and got the first of many letters in my file that would get me fired for doing the same thing over and over...saving a life...trying to...

but that first student would save another life that next year...i guess i'd taught her how to save a to be open enough to feel the pain of breathe it in and do the things that are human even when you know your job is part of the problem...break the rules's the only way i know how to save a life...too bad the consequences are so high...but aren't they just as high if you just sat behind your desk, waiting to push the paper through so that the next person gets the memo stating that the student is in trouble, dated before the life was lost?

"we do everything we can" the choir they slam the door in your face and they begin to forget you were ever there...where did i go wrong? i lost...something.

[indented song lyrics by the fray]

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