And then there are the others. The ones who on a busy day, when you haven't gotten to your attendance first thing, you can't quite recall whether or not they were in class. The ones who when the first parent teacher interview comes along in October, you need to look back through your notes to be sure that you're prepared with something to say to the parents. You know, those ones. The quiet ones. For a myriad of reasons, there are students that we just don't seem to notice.
The challenge is, that for the most part, the quiet ones tend to do okay. They comply with instructions, follow the daily routines, and make their way through the day without complaint. And yet, they also tend to make their way through their days with very little interaction with their peers. Or with the adults in the building. They are on the periphery our school communities. And that's not ok.
The question that keeps me up at night is, what am I missing if I let the quiet ones slip unnoticed through our hallways day after day? What am I not noticing?
The thing is, I was one of the quiet ones. Those who know me now probably chuckle a little at that... It's not often now that I get described as quiet. But it wasn't until long after school that I began to very consciously push myself outside of that comfortable, quiet place, to find my voice, to feel worthy of being noticed.
And so, as a vice principal of a high school of over 1200 students, and with the help of the members of my school community, I continue to challenge myself to really see those students, the ones who are sometimes doing their very best to remain invisible. Because for that very reason, we need to notice them. Because I don't ever want to ask myself that question again, "I wonder if there was more that I could have done?"