22 February 2007

Sin in the World

As you may have guessed, faithful readers, my life is boring enough that I don't have a lot to say, and therefore my posts have dwindled. I will do better, I promise.

The thing that prompted me to post tonight is actually a very sad thing. I don't always have the easiest job, but I have begun to build relationships with a few of the young people placed under my care. I have several that I see every day, including my teaching aides. I inherited most of my TAs from the previous Transition teacher, but have lost a few and gained a few in my months in the position. The previous Transition person was also the football coach, and the majority of the TAs were on the football team. Coincidence? I think not. A few of the TAs were actually bad kids that had been placed with that teacher in the hopes that he could influence them for the better. Good plan? Well, I don't particularly think so. But some of the knuckleheads have grown, and others I have gotten rid of. The TAs I still have are good, solid kids. I have come to care a lot for them.

My first period TA is a sweet young man who is growing out of his knucklehead stage. We'll call him Carlos, which is not really his name, but works for our purposes here. Apparently, he was quite a little hellraiser in seventh grade, but as an eighth grader, he is better (not perfect, but better). I keep an eye on him, on his grades and general behavior in school, and I'm very honest and open with him.
If he is tardy, I'll come up to him and say, "Carlos! Get up earlier and get to school on time. Do I need to call your house at 6:30 every morning to make sure you get up? Because you know I will if I have to." And he grins sheepishly, ducks his head, and makes an effort to be on time for the next several days.
When he is sick, I tell him to drink hot tea with honey and lemon.
Last week, I took him aside and said, "I'm worried about you, Carlos. I looked at your grades, and you need to be doing better."
He's opened up a bit about his life and his family, and I've known that things are hard for him. I pray for him and some other students almost daily. But this morning just made me so sad. He had his head down on top of his notebook, and I asked him, half joking, if he hadn't slept much during the night.
"Well," he said, "I went to bed, but my dad came home at 3 and said he was leaving, and left around 4."
"So your dad works at night?"
I was utterly confused. "So where was he in the middle of the night?" I didn't mean to pry; I was just seeking information.
"I don't know. He just came and said he's leaving. I don't know where he's going. My mom is thinking about moving to Sacramento."
"Wait, your dad is leaving your family? Carlos, are your parents separating?"
My heart just broke for him. He told me about how he didn't want to leave his friends, but he had to go with his mom if she moved, to take care of her and his younger siblings. He's been pulling himself together and staying (mostly) out of trouble this year, and now he's having to deal with too much sorrow and too much responsibility, when he's far too young.

Not all my stories from work are funny.

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