Last weekend, one of our students passed away in a car accident. While I didn't know her personally, it is impossible for an event like that to affect me as a teacher. As teachers, we pour so much of our lives into the lives of our students, giving ourselves to build the dreams of others. When one of those lives is snuffed out, we lose a part of ourselves.
I wish that it was possible for me to help my students always make wise choices in their lives. But that is not my role. There is no magical formula that we immediately mature my students. The process must occur naturally, through little steps at a time. I can't (and wouldn't if I could) force my students to change their habits, but I can believe in them. And when they know that I do, it can provide the seeds to the hope and courage that they need to change. And the opportunity to plant these little seeds is worth all of the sacrifices I make.