Wednesday, March 04, 2009


When things are going well, this girl has a smile that lights up the room. When things are not going well there is another kind of energy she emits that can power the universe.

Today, Smiley was not smiling nor was she emitting any kind of power. She was clearly upset and no matter what I did, I could not get her to focus on what we were doing. We are having a test tomorrow that she must pass and even that could not get her working.

When the bell rang, her friend said, "Tell her." Smiley said, "I'm not sure I should." Her friend insisted. I said, "Don't tell me if it is something I have to report." (Although I have no evidence, I think it is possible her dad has beat her in the past.) Smiley said, "It's not and then she proceeded to tell me."

My dad is probably going to jail in a few weeks. We'll know definitely by the end of next month. I'm scared. No one wants me. My mother is a psycho bitch who lives out of state. She would only take me for the money I get her. My stepmother only sees me as a problem and she doesn't want me either. My real mother would never let me live with her even if she wanted me, she's jealous and evil. The only one who wants me is my grandmother and she is too sick to take me in. I won't even be 17 until the summer. If they put me in a group home in Brooklyn or the Bronx, I won't even be able to come to school here. No one knows how I feel."

She's right. I can sympathize with her but I can't even imagine what she must be going through. It breaks my heart to be unable to help her. She is a difficult kid who has had a really screwed up life. It is easy to see why her relatives will not take her in.

She's not a bad kid. In the right environment, she could have blossomed into a beautiful flower.

If those Quality Review people came into my room today, they would have seen Smiley and her friend deep in conversation. Mr. AP would have hit the ceiling if he saw them. Yet, when I think about all Smiley is going through right now, I am just happy that she came to class. Math was one of the only ones she actually attended today.

As far as Smiley is concerned, I am going to keep creating an atmosphere where she can be happy, or at least safe, if only for 45 minutes a day. Let others say what they will. I don't care.


Miss Eyre said...

You know, if she wound up in a group home even far from Packemin, she has a right to go back there. I remember seeing a subway ad telling kids who are homeless, runaway, etc. that they can go back to their "home" schools and other educational rights. I'm not sure about the technicalities, but maybe she should look into that and it might help her feel better. With friends and teachers (like you!) who care about her, I can understand why she wouldn't want to leave.

And you're right--moments like that can't be quantified, and for me, knowing I can help a kid having a dark day is a HUGE part of what makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I told her that she would probably be allowed to stay. I Know she is talking to the school social worker who I hope is helping her.

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

It's heartbreaking what some kids have to endure. Thank you for offering a safe haven for Smiley. She'll never forget you. Ever.

Highly Effective King Clovis said...

We were discussing this before school today. It almost seems like no one on the outside of the school building really understands what many of these kids go through each and every day.

Anonymous said...

Some of the students in our schools have lives that just SUCK! Starting from when they are born,they go through hardships and abuse that is just incomprehensible. I work in a Principal's office and I see and hear some very sad stories from kids. I had two girls this week come in because they just needed a place to sit and cry. I offer them tissues, water and a snack if I have it. I try to soothe and help. Sometimes it makes me cry, too.