Well, my students really are quite a bit more observant than I thought. I received the following direct message on Facebook from a student of mine over the weekend. This student is a great singer and a really good kid. He's got a rare voice type, and has overcome so much already. I asked his permission before posting this.
So I've been reading your blog. I have seen your transformation from what u were and what u are now. I see that your happy and fit. There has been a big difference in you since you have lost weight, a good difference. I can honestly say that your class is the only class that I smile without trying, can be myself, and feel confident in all I do. But outside that room it is all a different story. A recent event happened that let reality hit me square in the face. Like I said I went to the doctor. Sat down, flipped through a magazine and heard my name. Got up walked down the hall, and was told to do the one thing I fear more then anything, step on the scale. I stood sideways, so I wouldn't have to see it, but the nurse said it out loud. "two-thirty one point six." like a sharp knife to my ears, I held back the tears. Thankfully I was facing away from the nurse as she ushered me back to a room. The only problem I have, I suffer in silence. My weight. fatty, upa-lupa, chubby- buddy, fatso-lot, mooby man, flab abs. Kids are real creative nowadays huh. The only thing that has ever held me back is my weight and I know this. I don't go out with friends cause most the time involves physical activity, and I sweat like a dog anyway, and get out of breathe just walking. Hate shopping cause I know that we don't look for the normal sizes but things with a big X on them, just knowing that they need extra fabric for me, I hate it. The sweater what a neat invention, something big, comfortable, and looks the same on everyone my safety zone. I envy you Aaron, seeing your success, wanting to be like you. Really don't know what I'm trying to say I just needed to tell someone. Someone who might be able to help. Just maybe.
Idk what I am doing sending this, but guess all insecurities go out the window when you have noone to talk to and nowhere to go.
Wow! I was surprised, and then incredibly sad for a really great kid. I hate that stories like this, and they are probably way more common than they should be. While I'm flattered that students have noticed my own weight loss, I'm humbled that even one student would seek me out for advice. Here was my initial response to his message.
Wow thank you. I'm so very glad you stayed in choir. I'm truly humbled that you feel like you can be yourself in my classroom. That means more too me than you know. As far as everything else you said, I'll comment on that later when I'm not so tired. But I will say this, weight loss is work, and you really have to dedicate yourself to it to make it happen, and really, that's the hardest part. Have a good weekend.
I haven't followed up on that response yet simply because I'm not sure what to tell him. The ironic thing is that this is exactly what I hoped would eventually happen, now I'm at a loss as to what to do to really help him. I need to put my money where my mouth is, but how do I help him without blurring the teacher/student line? Perhaps simply sharing with him what I did is the best idea. I don't know, I've never been in this situation before. And frankly, it's kinda scary.