It’s Spring Break week here in the beautiful state of Colorado. Last Friday I gleefully set my auto-responder and looked forward to ten blissful days of being unplugged. No sooner had I shut the laptop than the email alert dinged on my phone. I sighed and checked the notifications. No one wants to start break with something hanging over them, right? It was one of my students who desperately wants to pass my course, asking me if I could take a look at a first draft before break so she could wrap it up during break and keep working on her late work. Ugh. This paper was already two weeks late. But, wanting to support my student, I powered back up and gave her feedback on the draft.
Then, on Sunday, in a thoughtless act of habit, I opened the work email on my iPad. There was an email from a student with a 6% who desperately needs to pass my class in order to graduate in May. She asked me what she needed to do to get there and, oh, by the way, could I send her a place to start so she could work over break? Sigh. Of course I can. How could I leave her hanging?
Sunday evening, while I was cooking dinner, the text message alert went off on my phone, again another student. This time one of my students who tends to skim all emails and directions in the course who had no idea that the due dates were different over break. He was asking for an extension on an assignment that isn’t due until next week. How could I not answer? Poor kid was panicking.
So, here we are three days into break, and I haven’t unplugged at all. Would these students benefit from a lesson on boundaries and when it is and is not appropriate to ask for help from an adult? Probably. But is it the most important lesson I could teach them right now? No. Right now they need the loving support of a caring adult. These are all students who wouldn’t pass my class without it. And so I help them…and feel like a sucker. But also, I feel like their teacher. And that’s worthwhile.