It's crazy how an innocent conversation with a couple students about a book (in this case, Speak) can impact so much. Let me show you how...
Me: How are you liking that book, D?
D: It's good.
Me: Did you know it's a movie, too?
D: It is?
Me: Yes. With Kristin Stewart, the girl from Twilight.
D: Oh yeah! I saw that on Lifetime! It's the one where she's at a party and she's molested by the guy so she doesn't tell anyone. And then when she does, no one believes her because he's a jock, so they get mad at her.
Me: So, you mean to tell me you're halfway done reading this book, and you haven't realized yet that you already know the story?
D: (sheepishly) Yeah.
Several minutes later, a new student came over to me...
C: I think I want to read that book.
Me: What book?
C: The one D is reading.
Me: Okay, I'll write your name down, and as soon as she finishes it, you can check it out from me.
C: Okay. Because I think I can relate to it.
Me: (heart dropped) What do you mean you can relate to it?
C: I was molested by my step brother.
And this would be the moment my jaw dropped. In my seven years in schools, this is the first time I've had to deal with a situation like this. I couldn't believe how casually she dropped this secret, and I'm so proud of her for doing so. Of course, I called our school counselor immediately, and we called the girl's mother to the school so we could support the student in telling her what happened.
I've never heard a mother cry like I heard her mom today. It literally broke my heart to hear her grieving for her child. And though streams of tears, they both kept turning to me, thanking me, for helping them share this secret that's been hidden for so many years.
I know there's a long road ahead for this family, but I also know that my student will get the support she needs... all because she trusted me enough to share her secret.
Although my role was really quite small, I helped someone today. Not with an assignment or a test. But in a way that means so much more.