Friday, February 06, 2009

Unhappily Ever After

Last week during our conferences, we met some true characters. Geniuses, as Cupcake has often called them. However, I am referring to some of the parents. Most of the time, I have found that the apple does not fall far from the tree.

I don't even know where to begin with this story. We got a new kid sometime in the middle of October - let's call him HickoryBoy because he hails from Hickory, NC. As far as we could tell, ours was the third school he had been in this school year. (Let that sink in for a minute.) He wasn't in my homeroom, just my English class. He was of slight build and always wore some kind of skeleton clothing. Cute curly hair - too much for me, but cute nonetheless.

He did nothing for me. He liked to talk, talk, talk. As far as I could tell, it was a mechanism he used to get out of doing anything. My special ed teacher had to show him how to hold a pencil. She assured me it was just his way of getting out of doing work. Well, of course. He was in fifth grade. You should know how to hold a pencil by now. Another mechanism to get out of working.

I saw him start assignments and he could never produce them the next day to finish them. He was always re-starting them. He restarted more things than the kids in my room ever finished. I think he restarted the same Vocabulary Contract about 85 times. I don't know what was up.

The quarter ended at Christmas vacation and we all averaged our grades. Well, HickoryBoy had a 21 in English. And I was being generous. He had done just as well in all his other subjects. I figured that once his mama saw those grades, all hell would break loose. We sent those grades home the first week of January along with conference notices.

We didn't hear anything and believe me, we heard a lot from lots of parents who wanted to know what happened to their kids during the second nine weeks. (Uh, they stopped doing and turning in their assignments. Just saying.) We had a come to Jesus meeting with invited participants the second week of January. We invited HickoryBoy and his parents. No shows.

The third week of January, I just had it with this kid. He got called to the office with another student during my class and while my student teacher was correcting a homework assignment, I threw his backpack up on his desk and started to go through it. (Don't get all hyper on me. Students don't have any Constitutional rights. I already checked. Besides, I was helping HickoryBoy by getting his homework out and correcting it for him while he was gone.) Anyway, there wasn't any work in his backpack, just his grades from the beginning of January, the conference note and the invitation to the come to Jesus meeting, along with his agenda which looked practically brand new.

As I was unfolding the grades and the conference note, he came back into my room and almost yelled at me. And I told him I was just looking for his homework for StudentTeacherChick. But, alas, what was this? And where was his work? There was nothing there - just blank paper. I was thinking about getting loud - you teacher guys and gals know that feeling?- when I said, " How old are you? You are in the fifth grade! You should know better than to keep your backpack like this..." when he said, "Twelve."

Twelve. BrownBear - my gifted, talented blue-eyed baby is twelve. My seventh grader. Is. Twelve.

I took him outside and listened. He has been bounced around - moved around and he doesn't know why. He has failed a grade and he doesn't know why. His father is gone and he doesn't know why.

The special ed teacher called his oldest school from the beginning of the year and they faxed their records - the ones we didn't get in his move from school two to school three. The ones that said he was ADHD, on a 504 plan and taking medication.

I love my job.

We pulled his brother's perm record and read the summary our clerk had written about the family trying to register. She had written that they had told her that their house had been broken into twice and the robbers had taken their registration papers. Twice.

All righty.

We called the mother six (6) (SIX) times to try to find out if she could come in for a meeting or the conference we had set up for her. If Prep's or BrownBear's school had called me six times in one day, I would have driven over there to see what in the hell was wrong. Was someone dead?

In the meantime, StudentTeacherChick, GuidanceCounselorGirl and I make up a plan to stay on top of HickoryBoy, get him to be accountable for his work, get him to do his work, seat him with me and just get him to make a bond with somebody. It started to work. Holy crap, Batman, he was starting to get it.

On conference day, this imbecile of a mother shows up and starts in with her crap of how she keeps up with HickoryBoy and she knows what he is supposed to do. She lays on the biggest load of bull I have ever witnessed. My teaching partner had to write "shut up" on my notepad to keep me from coming undone.

Well, mama made all the obligatory promises about keeping up and keeping him on track and won't life be rosy when we're all in glory together.

Fast forward to today. She took him out of school and moved again because we didn't know how to teach and he didn't fit in the big city. HickoryBoy told GuidanceCounselorGirl he didn't want to go. GuidanceCounselorGirl cried. He didn't tell me goodbye because his mother came and got him before he came to my class.

I love my job.



Blogger Mamie said...

Oh, Teachergirl, I have been there... seems like it happens almost every year. But we do love our jobs, and we do love these kids, especially the HickoryBoys of the world. You know he won't forget you.

2/06/2009 9:04 PM  
Blogger cupcake said...

The more I'm around incompetent parents, the more firmly I believe that there ought to be a qualifying exam for parenthood.

That poor boy. Hang in there, sister. You do make a difference, and I believe that the brief amount of time you shared with this boy will affect him the rest of his life.

2/06/2009 11:28 PM  
Blogger John Deere Mom said...

Ugh. I didn't see that one coming. I'm sorry to hear he got pulled out yet again to another school. It sounds like you were the first person to give a shi!t about this kid...and I am sure he won't forget it. Here's hoping there's another teachergirl at his next school...

2/07/2009 9:20 AM  
Blogger Melissa B. said...

This story really tugged at my heartstrings. Not just the story of HickoryBoy, but the way you crafted the tale. Hope you enter it in the writing challenge!

BTW…don’t forget Sx3 tomorrow. It has a Texas-sized theme. Something about armadillos?

2/07/2009 8:53 PM  
Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Sometimes, though, it's hard to love the parents...

2/10/2009 3:26 PM  
Blogger teachergirl said...

California Teach: I think I speak for a lot of us. We miss you like crazy. Hope all is well. Check in when you can. Hugs!!

2/10/2009 5:31 PM  

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