Taking root in strange places

I hold trees close to my heart, but I’ve got nothing on this guy.

baby leaves?!

baby leaves?!

Break was nice. Family, friends, glasses of wine both ceremonious and not, Good Fridays and Better Saturdays.

Now it’s back to the grind. I feel drained and rushed. I keep making pots of coffee in the evening, not being productive enough anyway, reheating it the next day to start off the day on a subpar note. Grades due next week. This is the last week of the quarter – 3/4 of the way done! I also found out that if I get into the grad program I’d like to, I need to start the sequence of classes 2 freaking weeks from now. Still not sure what I am doing about the summer, about next year, about the rest of my life. Wooo!

I had an intervention-style meeting with a student and his grandfather this week, along with other teachers. It started as a discussion of behavior and what is and is not permissible in my classroom and began dissolving into rants by the grandfather about how his grandson has and has not been raised – punctuated by references to the belt buckle he fingered beneath his jacket. Became a lecture about the future and how you need grades, responsibility, goals, something besides basketball to carry you into your future.  That’s a dream, and it’s good to dream, but it’s just a dream, look at the statistics, look at the numbers, you really think you’re gonna make it to the NBA? You really think you’re going to get anywhere but the streets unless you have a backup plan?

It makes me sad to be part of the reality sometimes, and be part of the half-circle of adults sitting there around a kid who didn’t lose the sullen scowl and start crying until the part about his dreams. The attractive prospect of the two-day suspension that was going to get this kiddo out of my hair quickly became regret, wondering what kind of changes would really occur, and whether any of it would really help – being in class with me learning how to say “me gusta mucho jugar al baloncesto,” or being at home getting his backside “tore up,” if his grandad made good on all those promises. I know not everybody can grow up to be an astronaut or a dinosaur, but sometimes I just don’t want to look at the statistics.

What I told him: you’re in sixth grade, and the older you get the more your choices are going to affect your future. It’s going to matter what you do, and how you treat people, and what you make important. But you’re in sixth grade. You’ve got so much time left; create your own opportunities because people aren’t always going to hand them to you.

A while ago I met with another parent who, after a rant at her son which nearly left all three of us in tears, gave me a hug and said “You’ll know when you have kids; it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do.” For now I just have a few hundred borrowed kids, who don’t always appreciate their parental love that comes with belt buckles and confiscated cell phones and the kind of love that gets shaken into you sometimes. I hope that sometime they can come to benefit from my love, too, because even though I yell and call home and confiscate at least one bakugan toy per day and shoot lasers out of my eyes and say “I don’t care if you want to sit over there / I don’t care if you don’t like this assignment,” I actually do care when it matters. I’m trying to do more caring, less angry eyes. Or rather, love with a side of angry eyes. I just don’t want my frustrations with impossible situations to cancel out my hope for the possible.

This has been another bumpy ride through the disjointed contents of my cabeza these days. Thanks for coming along. Tune in next time!


2 Responses to Taking root in strange places

  1. d.cous. says:

    Thanks, Sara. That’s a great post, I love hearing your thoughts from the trenches. Keep on!

  2. chelsea says:

    pull my heart strings. i hope you never forget how important you are.

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