I just saw my former student "Chantal" who's now a student at a community college. I was telling a friend who is also a former volunteer in my classroom about what a hard time Chantal's having and she and her husband decided to help her out a little. Another friend gave her a laptop which was a huge stress for her because it's hard to get time in the computer lab to type her assignments. I've had some generous people read this blog before so I'm going to put it out there - if you want to sponsor her for a class or a textbook or whatever, anything helps. She's still trying to figure out this financial aid mess that her parents will not help her with by giving her nay of their tax information that she needs and she's pretty determined but it's hard. Let me know if you want to help and I'll give you details.
Anyway, it was nice catching up;. She's a beautiful tall young woman who presents as tough and confident and loud but is actually quite shy and insecure inside. She used to be extremely angry - and for good reason - and has that a little more under wraps now but has just had to deal with too much. Most of the kids in this city have. Just one example: Chantal's boyfriend was walking home from her house on Wednesday night and passed a 13-year old who seemed scared to see the boyfriend and picked up a broken bottle from the street to use as a weapon if needed. The boyfriend just kept walking and found out the next day that the kid was shot and killed two blocks after he had seen him. And Chantal knew this kid - he was related to a friend of her mother's. She said "He was thirteen - who wants to kill a thirteen-year old? It's just too much."
It is too much. Our reminiscence went kind of like this: "Remember that teacher who got caught for child molestation? Remember that kid who was almost kidnapped? Remember when that guy with the gun came and I was scared and ran outside to get my little brother?" It reminded me of this bit in the graduation speech. (scroll down to the blue part). This shouldn't be something children have to deal with!! It should not be part of the elementary school memories!
Other than that, it was lovely to chat with her. She's still desperately looking for a job so we're going to work on a resume next week. I said I'd take her to lunch so that we could work on it and mentioned that she should think of a restaurant she wanted to go to and she said: "Restaurant? I've never been to no real restaurant. Except I think Sizzler one time."
Three years ago: Shortage of Teachers?