To meet the requirements of my graduate school grant, I have to intern in a special education classroom about 12 hours a week. Last semester, I was in an elementary school with kids who needed help reading. This semester I am at the middle school (6th-8th grade), also doing remedial reading. Without betraying confidentiality, let me give you some background on some of these kids.
1) One of them has sixteen siblings, all from the same father.
2) One has missed 65 days of school since September.
3) One has a tattoo up her (HER!) calf.
4) One uses the "f word" on a daily basis to try to rattle my cage.
5) One has been indicted for sexual harrassment.
6) One has metal teeth encrusted with diamonds. This is a permanent fixture, cemented over the ground nubs of his teeth.
7) One has called me a b****, just because I asked her to read out loud.
8) One has been shot in a drive-by.
I feel like I should be at an inner-city school, but my town is SMALL! These are small town kids! One day a couple of weeks ago, one of the girls looked up from her reading and asked me a sexually explicit question that floored me. I am too embarrassed to write what it was, but I had only recently heard the term
and was not sure how to answer her. Finally, I said, "If you want to stay after class and talk about it, we can. But we aren't going to discuss that right now. It is time for reading."
Of course, she didn't stay after. I am sure she just wanted to shock our little reading group.
All of this is to say that I feel really sad about our kids. I am not talking about our biological children - we can each do our part to ensure that our own children succeed, but what about these other kids? These guys read on a first grade level, and they are almost able to drive! How did this happen? How can we expect to compete with other countries if this is the quality of student that we produce? Do we just push them through, so they more quickly become a drain on society?
What is the answer???
All this stress and worry makes me tired. I think I'll go put Dillon in front of MTV for awhile, drink a margarita and take a nap. Maybe later I can solve the world's problems.