Friday, December 08, 2006

Too tired to think of a title

I spend my days teaching kids to fill in bubbles. It's so important to pick the right bubble. And to not make any stray marks. Stray marks are bad. This is their life. Follow directions, learn the objectives. Be still and quiet.

Every bit of joy and discovery I can inject in the spaces between those bubbles means something to me. It's just never enough.

I'm tired and very, very cold and waxing a bit maudlin, I guess. I haven't even been drinking. Maybe I should be.

Tomorrow we take the kids on a field trip that will end with them getting Christmas presents. Four of them will be getting new bikes. Three of our kids, all siblings, can't go get presents because they are goingn to go visit their dad in jail, instead. I have been getting choked up every time I think of it. The program doesn't let us collect gifts for the kids who can't attend. I'm not mad at the program, or anything, I am just worn down and everything is really getting to me in a way it usually doesn't.

I have a student whose father has been in jail for seven years. This kid is nine years old. His little sister is seven years old. Every year they tell him his dad is getting out of jail. Every year something happens and he stays incarcerated. I wondered why my student was being such a holy terror lately and then I talked to his mom and she told me that was going on. I had a hard time talking, after that. For awhile.

On an equally dismal note, the faculty had a meeting this week about (what else?) standardized testing. In previous years, recent immigrants were defined, for testing purposes, as students who had been in the States for up to three years. They still took the tests, but their results weren't counted against the school. This isn't just because of language, it's because we get a lot of kids who, for example, were living in a remote village in Honduras and had never attended school before. This year, however, any child who has been in the country more than one year will be tested at the same standards as every other student. In English. We are so very fucked.

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