Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I pray to god I'm helping

I have been working for three days with two Special Ed. students on writing a MLA paper. This is a jury reviewed piece of writing that is the crux of their senior year and absolutely necessary for graduation. The two 18 year olds have been mainstreamed into a regular writing class. I have enjoyed myself immensely. They are very good natured young ladies, funny and extremely kind. Today I asked them about the subject matter they were working on. They had all the literature and materials available and they were absolutely incapable of communicating to me anything on the subjects that they had chosen to write about. Their thesis statements were concicse and clear, after two prior days of my coddling them. After twenty minutes, I took their papers and asked them to just talk to me about their subjects. One chose "the right way to play tennis", the other "child development." They could not. They could tell me nothing at all. I proded, gently. I tried to see if they remembered anything they had read. They could not. I then made a mistake. I involved the mainstream teacher in the process. You see, these two are from the learning center, a new project at our high school that exists because the Resource program has been downsized. Los Angels is now attempting to follow the leads of New York, San Francisco and other cities to bridge this gap. The teacher, god bless him, wasn't ready. He agressively cross-examined the girls, leaving one of them quietly inconsolable and in tears. She never once complained, as tears streamed down her face. How many times had she been misunderstood by teachers? How many times had she not fit in. And that's the one thing I know about high school especially: the goal is to fit in at all costs. If you don't then you go Goth and wear black or become impotent. I gave her a tissue (unused) and she wiped her mascara off her face. It had run down onto her blouse. What did I do? Why did I talk to this teacher? I didn't do my job. I should have dealt with her and saved her this terrible experience of having to deal with the real world. Oh god! All I could do was tell her it's okay. That it will be allright. I was lying of course. She doesn't really know that it won't be. But I did encourage her to not give up. No, I urged her strongly to not give up. No, I demanded she NOT GIVE UP. AT ALL COSTS! The other girl, now numb from years of this herself, said that she wanted to. I told her to not give up either. I called the psychologist. He wasn't in. The young girl went there I was to find out. I saw her in the learning center earlier. She was practicing writing her cursive. She had a very sweet smile. She seemed okay. She is okay. She will be allright, even though we know she won't be. God.


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