Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the fast and low-down

So. Time goes really fast. Crazy fast. It's good. I'm happy. I'm busy. I feel like I am doing something that matters to someone. To lots of people, actually.

I love being a mom. My girls are so spectacular. They are loving school, and being so wonderfully successful. I love the time that we get to spend together at dinner! I look forward to hearing everyone chime in with what they learned that day. Yaya chimes in and is so thrilled to finally be in school. Noni and Via are thriving. We are planning parties and sleep-overs and all that stuff. Via (10 yrs old), was asked if she wanted to date a boy at school. Luckily, she said "No." There will be no dating until she's 16, then it will be group dates only.

We are making lots of trips to piano lessons, and brownies, and gymnastics, and swimming lessons, and church choir. Then there are play dates and ... you get the idea! It's rich and lovely and I am in bliss.

School is going really well. I love teaching. I feel like I was ... called to be a teacher. I am teaching 4 sections of theater to kids K - 6. I am also teaching math and reading in an RTI block. I've got a tremendous bunch of 4th grade students. We actually have conversations, these kids and I - questioning and thinking and working on math and reasoning through lit questions... Sounds kooky, I know. But I really love these kids.

The next challenge and shining moment in my life are the kids that I am mentoring. Our school had low NCBA test scores and is in danger of being re-configured (yikes!) so we (the staff) have all chosen to mentor the students with the lowest test scores. I have chosen 2 girls - same family - and I dig these kids. The hardest part part is knowing that these lovely little people go home to such hell, it's breaking my heart.

Without telling you all too much, I want to share their story. Mom is an alcholic/drug addict. She is single parenting 4 children. The youngest is an angelic little boy in 2nd grade and there are 3 older sisters (I think that's all the kids at home, but hwo knows?). It's really no big surprise that these kids come to school unprepared. How could anyone be ready to learn when you never know what kind of chaos is waiting at home?! I've given the girls my phone number - the youngest girl calls me every night to "check her homework." I'm pretty certain that what she really wants is anything BUT homework help.

Last Monday, the children returned to school. We've managed to completely catch up th youngest girl - homework in on time for the first time in years! But the little boy... he wasn't in school. His sisters said that he'd been hurt over the weekend. When all of the pieces of the story were put together, we learned that one of the older children had jumped on this little boy. The mother - who may or may not have been home at any point during the weekend, has not taken the child to the doctor. We think that his collar bone is broken. It's happened before, the kids say. The boy came to school on Tuesday. His arm was in a sling. He is in obvious pain.

We've told all of the authorities, but I worry so much about these children. They are kind and loving and simply want to belong to a family that offers safety and security and comfort and love. Daddyman and I talked about fostering - we don't have the room, yet. But oh, if the world works it's magic, these children will be placed with a family that can love and care for them. A family that will offer these children the safety and security that they deserve. A family that they can count on to do the right thing.

Until that happens, I will continue to answer the phone for "homework help." I will try to help these children learn so that they can make the most of their lives. I will help them learn to love to learn so that they can see their own future - a future that is different from the one they live in now!

So now, I am really tired. I am tired and I am going to take care of myself tonight and go to sleep.


Rose said...

I know how you feel. I, too, feel that teaching is a calling. Any work you do with children is important. And meeting their emotional needs is as/more important than their educational needs. It's amazing how much difference one person can make in the life of a child, so be very proud of yourself for being that person. But as you mentioned, balance is the key; take care of yourself and your family so you CAN take care of these lost children. My thoughts are with you.

michaelg said...

You're a hero. Kids need an adult who cares and you're it. Your students and the girls you are mentoring will remember you for the rest of their lives. Bravo, my friend!

Pye said...

Oh, you are breaking my heart - and yet, I am so proud for you! You are doing the Good Work and you inspire me.