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Showing posts from 2014

Eulogy

Every teacher has a couple of students who make their way into the teacher's heart.  Many times, these are the most challenging students and other teachers don't understand why this particular student is so important to us, but then again, they have their own.  I've had a few who stand out in this way.  One was Fred.

Another former student, "Rosa", has been volunteering for me this month.  She is now 21 years old and a senior at UCLA against all odds, and truly a wonderful, beautiful person who I am honored to know. We were talking a few weeks ago about Fred and wondering what happened to him, but agreed that it was probably nothing good.  when she came in on Wednesday to volunteer, she said, "Ms. Harris, what was Fred's last name?"

I knew immediately what she was going to say.  And honestly, this was a likely outcome for him. But I am heartbroken.

This article was what Rosa wanted to show me, and because she knows how much I love my "kids&qu…

Becoming Adults

A book I read a long time ago is called There Are No Children Here.  I'm fuzzy on the details, but it's about a rough neighborhood in Chicago, I believe, and the title comes from a mother who says that there are no children here - and goes on to explain how people who have seen and experienced the violence that her kids have aren't children anymore because you can't experience that and still be a child.

I see this with kids and teenagers in Oakland, a lot.  When I was teaching this was really obvious.  A six-year old told me once that he had to walk his five-year old brother home because "My mama says I'm grown now."  other kids were being raised by their older siblings or older cousins, who should have been in college, figuring out who they were, not raising difficult young children who had been abandoned.

In my new job, I'm seeing this a lot.  Our staff is mostly made up of teenagers, and many of them are the parental figures of their families.  On…