A Ghost Child says Hello

Image from here

I call them ghost children, those students who pop up in our classroom for weeks or months only to vanish again as quickly as they appeared. One student, let’s call him Tom, showed up a couple of weeks into the school year ready to learn. Hailing from Chicago, he was so excited about having art, gym, and regular teachers rather than subs.  At his old school they didn’t have such luxuries I quickly discovered.  I spoke to his mom several times on the phone, asking if there was anything we could do to help her find a home, a job, etc. Her main concern was always Tom and his education, particularly getting him out of trouble and into learning.

Every day, Tom greeted me with the biggest smile. He was ready to learn, no matter the obstacles and just couldn’t believe all of the “amazing” things we were doing. Blogging, in particular, was something he loved to do, writing stories that made little sense and never quite fulfilling the task at hand. But he wanted to learn, to connect, to be a part of something.

And then, one day he was gone. We called home and got no answer. The weekend came and another couple of days passed by and his seat continued to be empty. I reached out, once getting a family member on the phone stating he would be back the next day.  Days passed and I got more people involved, trying to find my student, worrying where he had gone’ and why his stuff hadn’t gone with him.

More than 2 weeks has passed and this morning I opened up our kidblog. There was a new post waiting for my approval:

hay ever one this is Tom what up i am  likening my new school sorry miss ripp i had to transfer but i will talk to you and the class ever day tell Nathan Erick Hannah Lewis well ever body i miss them by


There he was, letting me know everything was alright, reaching out.  Maybe this blogging thing makes a difference after all.

5 thoughts on “A Ghost Child says Hello

  1. Well, if anything's going to touch my heart today, that's it. Lovely story, Pernille. And I'd never thought of a classroom blog being used in that way – well done, Tom!

  2. What a wonderful story and a great reason to encourage technology to our children. Goose bumps just reading this. I was that child at a point in my childhood and I wish I could have kept in contact or just let my teachers and friends know where I was and what happened. (that was over 25 years ago). Thank you so much for sharing this. I will definitly forward this one.

  3. I love this. I also keep a "teacher" facebook to allow me to see how students have succeeded once they leave my 7th grade classroom. I allowed my student teaching students (11th and 12th graders) and my long term subbing kids add me on my personal one (limited access until after they graduate) I'm just excited to catch up on them after they left. They still will leave comments on my face book, "Mr. Angood…." after I've told them they can call me Trevor.

  4. This was a very touching post. I sometimes have the same thing happen with my undergraduate students who appear and disappear from semester to semester. Often email is the only way we have to contact them and I never get a response. I am glad Tom was able to respond and let you know he was okay.Laurie Fowler

  5. Wow. Quite a story. I almost cried. I am an ESL teacher Reading volunteer trying to promote blogging in the school I where I volunteer. I am giving your resources and have created my own kidblog to help the grade 1 teacher learn to use blogs. I hope she will get excited to use blogs perhaps in September, as now things are getting busy with spring concerts and such. They are great teachers. I want to help them anyway I can to help the struggling students, and blogging is a good option. Thanks for sharing your blogging tips.

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