11 Students

By Madison Hess, 2019-2020 Literacy First Tutor

I wish I would have known that Thursday that I would potentially never see you again. It is true I have taken for granted the smiles, the laughs, and the passion in your eyes. Eleven students who have found a place in my heart, are going through the same worldly disaster as I. However, I may never know how their families dealt and are dealing with it, or how they feel about losing their normal routine and sense of belonging in a world outside their family’s door. 

It weighs constantly on my heart and mind the status of my caseload of children. Yes, I have my own worries and stress of my own standing, but, I have always managed to find some way of surviving. This year has taught me just how much of an impact I can make. But now, now I feel helpless. This was such an abrupt change for everyone. I could not imagine being a child in the world right now. How do you explain to a child that they can not see their friends, that they cannot go to school, that they cannot count on the stability of schools and teachers, and us tutors. 

I understand and acknowledge my privilege in all of this. I have a laptop, I have resources and income, I have a strong family foundation and people I can count on. I worry for those that do not have the same. I know some families are not even reachable by schools at the moment and others just do not have the resources. 

For myself, my workload has tremendously decreased, but as it decreases, I feel less and less helpful and more and more guilty that I cannot do more, be more. The beginning and middle terms of my service looked wildly different. I worked with the kids long enough to see major progress or at least realize a pattern in a lack of progress to set them in the right direction. I felt like I was making a difference. I felt like I was convincing those who thought they were never good enough to stand up tall, look in a mirror and yell “I am awesome”!

I want to remind those students that they are still awesome. That they still can do what they did before, and that they can do even more then they think they are capable of. I love all of them with my whole heart and they will remain in my thoughts. Stay strong Austin, better days are coming!