One more note on cutting

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One of my girls was sad today. She was crying when she came to class and two of her friends went to help her. I put the rest of the class to work on an opening activity and took the three girls into the hall. We all gave the sad girl a pep talk with some advice on how to deal with people who say mean or thoughtless things. The other girls were giving good advice: Just roll your eyes. Act like you don’t care. Say, yeah, whatever, and walk away. You can’t let them know you care. The comment that stood out for me was, “Yeah, and don’t start cutting yourself. That doesn’t help.”

Later another student handed me the crying girl’s notebook. I read enough to know that I will be seeing one of the social worker’s tomorrow as soon as I can run her down. Is she cutting? That level of self-loathing might go in that direction. If so, she would be known cutter number three.

Eduhonesty: She’s pretty and she does alright academically. She’s sweet and good to the people around her. That’s not how she sees herself, though, so I will have to try to find some help. It’s normal for teenagers to be emotional and volatile, especially in the middle school years. I keep running into levels of self-loathing that seem inexplicable however.

I wonder to what extent school demands and unassailable tests are contributing to these views. There’s no way this girl can understand she has average intelligence. We keep handing her tests she can’t read, having been raised in a Spanish speaking household, and results that show her at the bottom of the pile.

Like that kindergarten teacher who resigned a few days ago, I understandably wonder if school is doing this girl more harm than good. Too much rigor and I’m afraid we might send this very sweet girl right over the edge. Obviously her problems extend beyond mere school, but I don’t see how these new Common Core demands are making this student feel anything except lost, sad and stupid.