I had a really bad day, so I'm following my husband's advice and focusing on something positive - even writing about it!
I posted awhile ago about receiving a journal from a female student that said, "I'm recently pregnant and don't know if I should keep the baby or not."
Well, one day she was one of the last students to leave my class, so I called her over to talk to her and asked her if she had made a decision. She looked at the floor and said, "I'm supposed to go later this week to get rid of it." I basically told her I understand it is a very difficult decision, no one can make the decision for her, but in my opinion she should keep the baby. I also told her that even if she decided not to keep the baby, it would not change my opinion of her - I would still love her.
At this time, our class was still reading A Raisin in the Sun. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, it is about an African American family in Southside Chicago, struggling to make ends meet. The mother is waiting for an insurance check from her husband's death, and simultaneously trying to support the dreams of her two children, Walter and Beneatha. The pressure of how to best spend the insurance money and support the dreams of the whole family is slowly driving the family apart. Walter's wife, Ruth, finds out she is pregnant with their second child, and she is terrified that they will not be able to afford the baby and that it will just add more stress to their already difficult situation, so she makes arrangements to have an abortion. Long story short, the family grows closer together through a series of events, and there is a particular line where the narrator says, "Ruth laughs joyously [...] and lets her arms come down happily, slowly, reflectively, over her abdomen, aware for the first time perhaps that the life therein pulses with happiness and not despair."
Shortly after, this student came up to me and told me that she had decided to have her baby.
Now, I'm certainly not taking credit, because I know there were a lot of factors influencing her decision, but it's kind of nice to think that maybe our talk and that line planted a tiny seed, or just provided a trickle of water for the love that was already growing.
p.s. She was also the only student to give me a Christmas card, inscribed "Merry Christmas - to a great teacher."