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I was blithely grading exams yesterday when my boss called and asked if I could drop by.  After the inevitable “What did I do wrong?” thoughts moved through (apparently I will never grow out of that), I wondered if he was going to respond to my proposal to create a new type of writing class for students.

But no, my proposal wasn’t the reason.  sigh.  A former student, the angry young woman I mentioned in Burnout Blues, was having trouble with her instructors this semester, and even worse, she was now homeless and living out of her car.  My boss wanted to “touch base” with me and confirm what I had told him (I think he wanted me to talk to her, but I firmly squashed that idea – it  would so not go well.)  We talked for a while, and I suggested another instructor with whom she has a less … fraught … history as someone who might be able to reach out to her.

I have never had a student work harder to get assignments done, and her attendance was exemplary.  But she cannot take correction at any level without exploding, and I don’t know how to help her find her way beyond that destructive response.

Her anger comes as a reasonable reaction to a brutal childhood, filled with every type of abuse that has a name and probably some that don’t.  But it is not serving her well at all, and she has rejected help, probably after finding no relief from the oceans of pain.  I don’t know what to do for her but pray.

Sometimes teaching is so hard.