How An Accident Brought Out the Best in Students

Tom Anderson is a First Year Teaching Fellow and Former Teaching Associate at United for Success Academy in Oakland, CA. He has AB Negative Blood.

While helping out in a reading intervention classroom, I bumped my head rather severely on a television set twice in a span of forty minutes. I wasn’t rushed off to the hospital mainly because I had thirty-two nurses in training who assisted me. It wasn’t just the caring nature of the dedicated and passionate 6th grade students, but two of my coworkers, Darielle Davis and Mica Warton who remained cool, calm and collected during this outrageous accident.

I grabbed three napkins and tried my best to hide the blood from the students. This incident taught me that it’s not always about teaching fractions and why a comma doesn’t belong in a certain place, but that when someone falls down and gets hurt, we stand together to help them out. Our expectations at United For Success Academy are R.I.S.E. (which stands for Respect, Integrity, Scholarship and Enthusiasm). Each student showed respect by checking to see if I was okay. They showed integrity by acting like leaders and staying clam in the situation. The students showed scholarship by remaining on task with writing their 'choose your adventure' stories. And, the students demonstrated enthusiasm by remaining positive about the situation and asking if there was anything they could do to help.

Ms. Davis notified our Campus Director who took control of my classroom while I went to the health center. I was overwhelmed by thirty-two faces who were genuinely concerned for my well-being. There constant questions of, “Are you okay Mr. Anderson?,’’ made me feel cared for and showed me that there are positive lights to the end of the tunnel even if some days it doesn’t seem so.  After the Health Center cleared me to return, I rushed over to my team because I wanted to help my students and staff who quickly responded to my distress. Throughout the day, my staff made sure I was okay and in a challenging job like the Citizen Schools Teaching Fellowship, it’s nice that you can count on the people you work with to help make the days a little more bearable even if you happen to bonk your head on a television set because you’re too tall and lanky.

Was there a time when an unfortunate incident led to you realizing the people around you care for and support you? Share your experience here.