Thursday, August 28, 2008

sleep is for people who don't have kids

My children are losing their minds in hurricane mode, just like everybody else. Today, I realized first thing that it wasn't even worth fighting the hurricane chatter and trying to be a state standard-abiding GLE pusher. So instead of talking about outliers and data sets, we talked about hurricanes. All day.

The miracle of the smart board is that I can do that. I had internet access and UnitedStreaming account (not to mention google). So we looked up information about Gustav, information about Katrina, how to measure strength of hurricanes, how hurricanes form, and whatever else the kids could ask. Videos, Saffir-Simpson scale websites, news, graphs, name it. The kids, for the most part, were eager to be involved and eager to be heard and full of questions.

It was still a tough day, behavior-wise and for other reasons. But it was kind of an inspiring day too. The behavior is such a hurdle to get over but motivation is not. They want information and they have so many ideas (great and/or misguided) and they want to contribute - but it's got to be relevant to them. And THAT is so fucking difficult sometimes. Figuring out what to tap into and how to integrate that with our strict curriculum.

Broke up a fight at the end of the day today in my classroom. Lots of frustrating things going on in my second class. Lots of frustrating things going on outside my classroom and I'm not sure what to do about them. But in some ways I feel like I am carrying the 6th grade on my shoulders this year, moreso than before. I learned that the hard way at the end of the last school year - that there may not be someone else holding the kids accountable for their learning all the time. That I've got to find a way to fight for my kids subtly because others won't stand up for them.

D is my classic example. D and I knocked heads a lot last year. He's got a reputation. But this year is something else. Things are not perfect. I have to take him into account every moment that he is in my class. But he's beginning to open up. Even when his behavior is atrocious, like a day earlier this week, I can work with him. I can pull him aside and he doesn't immediately fight against me. He's telling me that it's not me, it's not school, it's something else - something is wrong and he can't talk about it yet but something is wrong and he needs help and he wants help and he wants things to change. Unfortunately there are so few people who can see past his outbursts and his posturing and pacing and gnashing his teeth at the world. He NEEDS all the support we can give him and I see that there are glaring gaps in that support system that I cannot control. I can't control others around me. But it makes it no less frustrating to see this kid neglected and written off by some of the adults who he needs the most.

I am terrified that I will lose this kid.

After listening to my kids today, I am terrified for them, terrified of losing them, and heartbroken for them and the way their lives are being jerked around by the uncertainty and distrust caused by a government that has failed them and failed to protect them. Because who is going to step up? Who can guarantee their future or their safety? Who is going to reassure them and give them stability?

They ask me if I will come back. Of course I will come back. I won't leave you. I can't leave you. I'm not fucking giving up now.

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