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Uncategorized   |   Dec 14, 2009

How I saved a child’s life (a true story)

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

How I saved a child’s life (a true story)

By Angela Watson

I am a teacher, and I saved the life of a child who was dying a thousand different deaths.

He was drowning in a sea of technicalities and red tape, of bureaucratic limitations and endless uncompleted forms. This small child was tossed about in unrelenting waves of systemic failures that pulled him underwater again and again, each contingency a riptide he was powerless to swim against.

My heart sings, because I saved that child’s life.

He was suffocating from the intensity of his unmodified workload, struggling for air under the weight of criticism and impossible expectations that were crushing his chest. He was pinned to the ground by his own reputation, gasping for breath, unable to shake off the stereotypes and assumptions associated with his ethnicity and social class.

My heart sings, because I saved that child’s life.

He was starving for validation and his hunger for a sense of accomplishment was nearly fatal in its intensity. Emotionally emaciated and weak from a lack of attention and acknowledgment, he lacked any ability to nourish his own body, mind or soul.

My heart sings, because I saved that child’s life.

With a raft of interventions, I pulled him out of the murky water of bureaucracy and set his feet on firm, dry land. I lifted the suffocating weight of self doubt and gave him tasks he could accomplish. I nurtured him with a steady diet of praise and affirmation. And with assurances of hope, I delivered him into the arms of an anxious, desperate mother who had spent a decade praying for the rescue of her precious and deeply troubled son.

In the tedium of classroom routines, in the midst of the mundane, in the center of daily perseverance, there was purpose. I saved a child’s life by keeping these words continually on my lips: Lord, how can You use me today? Here am I! Send me.

I received the credit, but it was He who saved a child’s life.

And today His heart sings.

Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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  1. @ John: Thanks. Glad you enjoy my sappy side. 😉

    @Anon: LOL, actually now that you mention it, I practically AM home-schooling him, in the sense that I've created an entirely individualized curriculum, complete with one-on-one instruction 60 minutes out of the day and one-on-two 60 minutes out of the days. Maybe I should market my ideas to homeschoolers and make a few bucks. 🙂

  2. Angela…you, John Spencer, and Cesar Milan (a.k.a. the dog whisperer)are my role models. You remind me to be kind and to rely on God. John reminds me to think for myself and occasionally teaches me a new word. Cesar shows me the similarities between nine year olds and puppies and helps me be calm and assertive. Thanks for your good work.

    Exhibit A

  3. Angela, thank you for writing this. Because I'm responsible for a classroom full of kids whose needs are so diverse, it's so easy for me to always think about what I'm not able to do for each of them (not enough hours in the day!). When I read this today, I remembered all of the kids who I "saved," and it brought me so much joy. Thank you.

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