Even Rough Teddy Bears Are Still Teddy Bears


If you walk into this school, it may be hard to label it as that.  A police officer is always present in the main lobby with his car parked just outside of the locked double doors.  Students are always roaming the hallways and even the school grounds, but it is difficult to find one with a legitimate pass from a teacher.  Instructors, often times, don’t show that they care about their students and they don’t always do the best job of encouraging them to progressing in life.  You would think that the kids at this school were all horrible people who have built this environment for themselves, but it’s simply not true.  Yes, many of these students talk back, get in trouble, and appear to not care, but it is all the exterior mask that they have been forced to put on.  The truth is that most of these kids just want somebody to show them that they care and as soon as that happens they’ll open their arms to you, welcoming you closer.

Last week, I was working with my students and I asked them to create cards for children staying at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  At first, there wasn’t a lot of creativity going on.  instead, there was a lot of questioning and thinking, but as soon as they got started it was hard for me to get them to stop when they needed to go to their next class.  My students may appear to be tough, but, in reality, they are some of the sweetest kids I know.

Not everybody gets to see the soft side that myself and my co-workers have witnessed because not everybody shows them how much they care.  I always ask how my students are doing, I joke around with them, and I give them honest advice.  My co-workers and myself try our best to be there for these students that deserve some pure care.  Now it’s to the point where those kids are like my babies and it’s going to be hard to let them go.  Many of them consider me their friend and  I must admit that I feel honored to be in that loop they trust so much.  If they didn’t know I cared so much, then I would’ve never have been able to get those boys to create hand-made cards for those patients.  I’m just glad that the kids at Johns Hopkins Hospital will be able to catch a glimpse of the rough teddy bears I see.  I am so proud of my students and I look forward to seeing how far they can go.


About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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