When I have to Talk to a kid, which isn't often, I say a quick prayer to not fuck it up, to say the right thing, to find a way to get through, to be firm without alienating or hurting a kid who I know is very likely having a hard time in life, but who nonetheless is dicking the rest of the class over with their jackassery.
I almost kicked a kid out of our program on Thursday. It was awful. As far as I know, we've never kicked a kid out.
The point of the program is that it's a supportive place for kids who probably don't have many supportive places. A positive place, a place where every idea is a good idea and you can express yourself any way. Kicking someone out is practically an anathema to the entire mission statement.
I don't know if I got through at all on Thursday. I was as loving and patient and positive as I could be. She finally said she wanted to be part of the class and she got through the final rehearsal. She'll get to do the big show that she helped to write and develop next week.
But she's not welcome back next year. Also a first, albeit a less harsh one.
I wish I could shake the fear that we're one more place that is shutting the door on her.