I feel really good because I think I made a good connection with a student yesterday. I have a student (ok, I have over 100 of them, but that's beside the point), one of those kids that all of the teachers go, "ugh" when they hear his name. We just finished our fourth week of school, and he already has 43 office referrals. Sometimes he manages to get more than one in a single period. He is a wannabe gang member who has a terrible mouth and talks about smoking weed all day. He yells out things like, "I'm gonna be a drop-out and sell crack." These kids always end up worming their way into my heart somehow.
He really doesn't do any work, but he'll usually work for me most of the time. Yesterday they got in trouble and had to write an essay about how they had or had not demonstrated the Community of Caring Traits in the last week and why it was important to live the traits. He was going to write that it was important because your parents will be proud of you (also that the cops will leave you alone, lol) and as he was writing, he said, "I made that up because my parents are never proud of me. I could be on tv for doing something really good, and they still wouldn't be proud of me...you know I never go home? Ask Olivia, she seen me walking in Marina at 3 in the morning. I just walk around to my friends houses sometimes to get food because sometimes I don't eat."
He breaks my heart. And we wonder why some kids always act out. Because at least he's getting attention some way. We wonder why kids join gangs. Because they have no family at home. After school, I was going to my car and he was walking down the street in front of the school. He asked me for a ride and I told him I couldn't legally give him one. He said, "I'm not going home." I said, "I know. You told me. So, is this what you're going to do all weekend? Walk the streets?" His response was, "Yep. If you don't see me on Tuesday, then something bad happened." I was like, "Don't say that! I'm going to be worried about you all weekend!" He said, "Ok, then I'm gonna be okay!" and flashed me a smile.
I just want to hug him. I want to find some way to get it through to him that he can do better with his life, but he has romanticized this idea of a gang life. On days when I don't know how much longer I can teach, things like this give me a little more energy.