Teaching tip: Sometimes there are no good explanations.

Between my first days as a teacher until Nicola’s departure, the dynamics of my class had changed several times. A student who had been homebound returned to school and later passed away. There are no words to describe the loss of a child, even one whom I had only worked with for a few days, and I remember feeling wholly inadequate in my struggle to explain this very sad event to Bryan and his classmates.

A new foster family moved into the neighborhood, one which served specifically those children with severe/terminal illnesses and intense healthcare needs, and their children moved in and out of my classroom as they transferred from and to other foster homes and schools.

Nicola’s departure was not out of the ordinary, although I had known her for over a year and was very sad to see her go. What chilled me to the core was that I had never – nor had anyone at John Green Primary ever – seen a foster parent so openly pleased to send a child back to her abusive mother. "Disturbing" seems inadequate to describe Ms. Long's twisted, gleeful response to sending her foster daughter away. While I could not write those details in my letter, they were constantly on my mind.