I made it a policy early on in my teaching career to never cry in front of students, and until today I never had. Sure, there have been times I have locked myself in the darkroom after a particular frustrating hour and have shed a few tears, but NEVER in front of my students.
One of my students had this great idea to show this video. (warning...you may not want to watch it until you've read this post.) This isn't just any video. First of all, it's a music video - a music video by an artist that just came out with a new Christmas song. That seems harmless, right? Well, this song was written about a little boy from the town I teach in. This song is about this community. This song is about Dax.
If you want to learn more about Dax and his story, you can link to the movie. I'm just telling you that I was unprepared. Like, seriously unprepared. Sure, I was around when the community rallied behind this sick little boy, and I remember thinking what a sad story it was. But I was disconnected. I didn't have kids yet and I don't actually live in the town I teach in. I was this safe distance from it.
It doesn't matter now how disconnected I was. THIS IS THE SADDEST VIDEO EVER.
So as my students convince me to show this in class I sit innocently at my desk thinking how sweet it is that my students have room in their heart for a story of such seriousness. Then it started. It started with the ugly - I'm trying not to cry face. It then turned into the - I only have watery eyes because I'm yawning fake-out. And by the end of the first verse it was full-on nothing-can-stop-me crying.
Finally the video ended and I tried to compose myself as I walked over to hit the lights. Mascara was everywhere and I could tell that my face was beyond blotchy. I was so embarassed. I turned on the lights and then faced the classroom full of judgmental egocentric teenagers. NOT A SINGLE DRY EYE. I'm not kidding. Football players were feigning sleep so that they wouldn't have to look at me. Girls were digging through their purses to avoid eye contact.
Perhaps it's because it hit close to home - literally for these kids. A lot of them were involved in the story when it happened. A lot of them still remember it very clearly.
Finally I made some lame comment about "a class that cries together creates together." snickers and giggles ensued. So now my "no crying in front of students" policy needs an earmark for "super sad music videos about adorable little boys."
** If you want to be legit about the video and at the same time make a donation to St. Jude, go to this link.