Thursday, September 3, 2009

Farewell to Chiquita

I learned today that Chiquita was sent "down the hill." Now I am not entirely sure of what this means, but I do know that it is for the worst of the worst students. These are the students that spend more time in ISS (in school suspension) than they actually spend in the classroom. They call this place the "learning center," although I would be very interested to see what kind of learning is actually taking place there. One of my roommates informed me that his students were passed on in English from their previous teacher because he would give them A's for a dollar. I also hear that this particular teacher now teaches at the learning center. Maybe I should have sent Chiquita with some dollars. I have to admit that I am not the best teacher, because a part of me wanted Chiquita to go there. Whenever she was in my classroom she would fight me on the smallest requests. She spent an entire day standing outside my door because she refused to put her backpack under her seat. This was when I thought that she might actually get more learning done at the Learning Center. I haven't been able to get her off my mind since that incident. Until now no one has been able to get through to her. I just want to take her by the shoulders and shake her until she realizes that she is sealing her own fate. Whatever problems her home life is creating that affect her behavior at school, they will continue to be there for the rest of her life unless she can open up opportunities through education. She will forever remain the "the girl from nowhere with too much attitude." I have to admit that she intrigues me and that I wish I had a deeper understanding of what she struggles with. I watched her pick a fight with a boy twice her size in homeroom today, and then watched a completely different side of her light up when they asked for volunteers to dance at the homecoming assembly. I kind of perked up when I saw this reaction, because I realized that dance may be the one thing that will get through her impenetrable exterior. However, it was right after she volunteered that she was called down to the office, only to disappear down the so called hill. I hear she might be back in 45 days and hope I will have another chance with her. A part of me is grateful that the students in that class will now be able to learn uninhibited by Chiquita's baggage.


Jamie said...

Jaremy, first of all, I never knew you were such a beautiful writer. I am certainly impressed; another one of your seemingly endless talents reveals itself at last! Secondly, I am so excited that you are starting a dance club :) But remember, you can use movement in your classroom to create a more memorable learning experience! I sill remember the night before your teach for America interview when you practiced your lesson with the balloons. Move those desks to the side of the room and let the kids do it too! I had a professor that passed away last week from breast cancer, she was amazing and so passionate about how ANY subject matter could be taught using the body. She taught me so much and inspired so many that I wanted to tell you about it. Play to your strengths. It sounds like you're doing great, I love you and miss you.

Karen Webb said...

It's those misunderstood opportunities that haunt me. Try to remember that we can give people opportunities but they have their free agency. I am so amazed by your perspective! I can't imagine the day to day life changing experience that you are having. If nothing it will make us all understand that we kind of live in a bubble. Thanks for being so diligent with your updates!

Grandpa and Grandma Higbee said...

Jaremy, I am so proud of you and I am inspired by what you write and what you are gaining from the experience you are having. Thank you for sharing it with us. We are strengthened by what you are doing. Your students are blessed by having you there even if neither you or they realize it.
Love Grandpa