Saturday, June 27, 2009

Melly told me the first year I taught, that you can't appreciate Friday afternoon unless you are working, and no one could possibly relate to the high of the last day of school like a teacher. J. summed it up yesterday when she texted me at 12:30- YAY!!!!

But P. is still up there occupying the majority of my consciousness. Okay so my main concern at the moment is fixing my hair and finding an outfit that I won't have to keep my knees firmly pressed togethr if they sit me on stage, but the very first graduation is just hours away.

J. a chunky, Domincan decent eighth grader, who was the central point of much trouble for most of the school year spenour last two minutes together unleashing a torrent of insults that addressed ever insecurity about my appearance I ever had. All year, I had reminded people that J had could no more force himself to behave than a diabetic could force his pancreas to produce insulin. But it was painful.

Even more painful, was the last half hour with D. A tall light skinned 14 year old, who despite good to great grades on state tests continues to fail most courses. He repeated the 8th grade this year. A few weeks ago, after a meeting with his grandmother, the principal told him he needed to confirm a counseling appointment before leaving the school year. of course I am the only one who remembers this and I dragged him over to the principal's office. Within minutes we established that no appointment had been made and D. had again failed English and Spanish. D. showed almost no affect during the ensuing proceedings but within minutes the principal was crying and threatening that D. could not spend the next four years with us since she could not watch him destroy himself.

So I opened my big mouth, "he's a child., and he always is welcome here,"
And I am not sure how we got to the next point but he left with a note for his grandmother and a strongly worded message on the home answering machine.

If I felt good about anything, it was that M., the kid my colleague had described as the most unmotivated human in the universe,(she doesn't work with D.) was waiting for him outside, after a half hour of principal wrangling, Mr. depression did not have to leave alone.

So off into summer vacation we go.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

old year new computer

A year and a half has passed since I last made an entry. The school year is all over except for the shouting, but today I took half the per session money I earned in May and bought a little lap top. Over the last 30 years I have thought to chronicle my experience in so many different classrooms with so many different kids and from time to time I have. But not a lot. So the days are running out. By this time next year I can officially move my time card to the out slot for the very last time. I probably won't. But I could.

So between now and then lies a summer a vacation and one more year of school days to chronicle.
And a l have a computer that fits in my purse- something I couldn't have imagined when I faced my first class of students.

"I." saw me in the hallway after another afternoon of watching the raining bounce off the scaffolding as I watched people struggle through another Regents final.

I. "You look like Shirley Temple with your hair all curly like that"

Me: When I was little people said that to me all the time, but no one has said that to me in 40 years.

I. I like to watch old movies on tv.

And I took myself out into the pouring rain so my hair could curl more thinking about Shirley Temple being the first white person to dance with a Black person in the history of American Cinema. But I didn't mention it. Maybe I'll find a way to work that into the conversation next year.