Saturday, November 04, 2006

Mi Corazon

Corazón is my girl. She is my special girl and I love her very much.

At the beginning of the year, she was quiet and withdrawn. When I asked the kiddos to write something about their families in their journals, she flat-out refused. She wasn't defiant. There was no drama. She just shook her head quietly and refused. I asked her if she'd just tell me who she lived with so I'd know who to talk to about school things. "I live with my older sister," she told me. She wouldn't say anything else. She is frequently late to school and rarely does her homework. Whenever confronted about those things, she becomes flustered and ashamed. Her grades are not dismal, but tend to go up and down.

I was able to piece together a little about Corazón's world. From what other teachers tell me, she and her little sister, Paloma, were both forcibly removed by the courts from their mother's custody and put in the care of their eldest sister. There was definitely neglect and outright abuse in the household; I heard something about an abusive father. They have one or two brothers who are incarcerated. When they were in their mother's custody, they seldom made it to school. Both of them failed a grade. Corazón was put in a Spanish-speaking classroom from kindergarten through 3rd grade, though her English was stronger than her Spanish. Even though it's already November, I just found out last Thursday that she is a special education student. No one gave me the paperwork or even told me that it existed. I had no idea, all this time.

I am seeing, more and more, how students are slipping through the cracks. I'm starting to understand how it happens. I don't want to see Corazón put into special education. The goal of special ed is to bridge the gap and move the students back into mainstream education. But how often does that actually happen?

I've so lost momentum with this post. It's just that Corie is my girl. She's not withdrawn or quiet anymore. She is wildly funny and has a quick, biting wit. Her antics, along with Esperanza's, had me laughing so hard I was crying last Friday. Legally, I think I can keep her with me as long as I make modifications to her instruction, since she has "inclusion" on her IEP. I feel that she has a real shot at catching up and making it out of special education, but ironically it won't be the special services that will help her. I think that being put in a bilingual classroom was not helpful to her, and in fact hindered her learning to read. And she's my girl and I want to look out for her learning because she's just too fucking bright and special to be left so far behind. She's had far too many people abandon her and I can't be another one of those people.


Blogger Jake said...

Your blog hurts me a little (on the inside).

12/01/2006 11:32 PM  

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