This is the email, I sent both of my classes a few minutes ago. Please know that my goal is to be your "safe space" if you ever need one, as well.
I am writing this letter to both my Intro to AFAM class and my Gospel Music class...
In the last few days, I have received several emails from your classmates about life struggles. Many of us are dealing with the hardships of life: the death of a loved one, sickness of family members, your own illness, high stress levels and the list goes on and on.
I want to stop for a moment and encourage you. Life is going to happen and sometimes those happenings really STINK! The challenge is knowing how to come back after a setback. Do you isolate yourself, stay in your dorm room and cry OR can you recognize that your classmates are struggling with their own life issues and are not scared if you need to leave class for a few moments to catch your breath?
When my father passed in January I told my Gospel music class (no problems), but by the time I told my Intro class, I was in tears. UGH!!! I didn't mean to "lose control" in that moment, but it happened. What was so comforting was your classmates (MY students) were so loving and comforting in that moment. Many stayed to give a hug, to offer "I'm praying for you" and others sent me an email message. What a blessing!
Why do I mention this? I want you to know that throughout your college career and life, you will experience hardship, struggle and loss BUT you don't have to run from it. Share your feelings with someone you can trust and KNOW that you don't have to go through it alone. I'm not afraid of tears and I won't run away if you choose to share that with me.
I mentioned, at the beginning of the semester, that my class is always intended to be that "safe space" where we can talk about 'race & class' without feeling judged or ashamed. That's my job as a teacher.....to be a "safe space" for students as we navigate difficult topics in class. But my job as a human being is to be a "safe space" for anyone who needs my help. If I can't help you, I can definitely refer your to professional counselors.
So don't run from life, run towards those who can help you navigate life.
Tomorrow is our last class before spring break.... Woohoo! At the end of class tomorrow, I am available for a hug. I just want you to know that you don't have to be depressed over spring break, but that someone cares for you. So don't miss class tomorrow, bring your tissues if you need to and recognize that your classmate is going through their own life challenge, so there is NO time to judge you. (Now, if you're sick.......keep your nasty germs at the house. Do not bring them to class. I'm just sayin'......Ha!)
Blessings and enjoy the balance of the day.
Now walk it out...