I was in a semi-fancy luggage store the other day in the hopes that something nice had gone on sale. The nice Korean man who owns the store was chatting with me, and I mentioned that I was a teacher. What grade? High school, I told him. Oh, he nodded, eyes wide. Wow. I smiled. Where do you teach? In Brooklyn, I said. Bed Stuy. Do you know Bed Stuy? His eyes widened again. Wow, he repeated. Very rough area, no? I never know what to say to this question. Sure, I said. But they’re kids, like anywhere else. They’re tough there, no? he asked, imagining the movies. No, I said. Not really. They’re all soft on the inside. They just want to succeed, like anyone else.
In my five years of teaching, this has always been true. Even the scariest, nuttiest, hardest cases – I could always see the bunny rabbit inside, looking for love. It was just a matter of finding a way in – I was sure everyone could be whispered to. I was sure everyone had a rabbit inside that responded to ordinary love and safety.
That is, until today. Continue reading