Saturday, January 31, 2009

Time and Roots

A couple of days ago I saw the "community service" guys walking down the road cleaning up trash. My brother used to call them the"little people" since they looked tiny outside my father's truck window. Of course, two, maybe three, of them were former students of mine. Nice to know they're doing their part to keep the community clean.
See, drugs can have a positive impact on a community.
The night before one of my fellow teachers told me one of our former students had just been arrested, for raping little kids. Nice. I'm sure he'll have a good time in prison. His nickname in school was Li'l Juvie or something like that. I guess we didn't realize it wasn't a moniker so much a statement of sexual choice. Maybe he'll get to keep that nickname in prison.
What bothers me, though, is that people don't have those urges unless they, too, were subjected to them. I guess I could be wrong. I would have liked for him to have gotten some help sooner... now it might be too late.Kinda sad, he is only 18 or so...

But not all of my students end up in prison... one of former students is waiting tables at one of our fav restaurants in town. I taught her 9 years ago. She quit school, got pregnant, (not in that order) and was living in a trailer park with her illegal alien boyfriend. I tried to talk her out of it, but what did I know? I was just a teacher and she was in love. But she has finally gotten away from Loser-Boy, got her high school diploma, is married and has 3 1/2 year old twins, plus a five year old. (Wonder what happened to the pregnancy, the numbers don't add up)

It was a goose bump moment- in a good way. Teachers tell each other that you never know how you will touch a student's life, but we don't talk too much about how they touch our lives. How we worry about them and hope they don't fall into the abyss of time, drugs, hopelessness, poverty. It was good to see her.

It was these thoughts that were twirling around in my head when I walked in to the Doc's office (for routine maintenance) and saw a grandmother holding her infant grandson in her lap, staring face to face with him. She'd coo something and he would wiggle, never taking his eyes off her face. Remember those days? I said, "I bet you could just do that all day" she smiled and went back to cooing.

And I felt the rightness of the world.

Then the boy's mother came back into the waiting room. A former student of mine, of course. She was Special Ed. Very Special. Emotionally and mentally. She was always one extreme or another. Happy, furious, introverted, extroverted, modest, whorish, willing to learn, or totally shut down. In the end, I think she ended up in all self-contained classes. I would see her, from time to time, over the next few years and wonder if she ever got her life together.

Now, I know people change. Good grief, look at how far I've come. I hope, for her son's sake, she does too.


Anonymous said...

... I usually see an old teacher or two of mine every time I go to get my haircut...... it's always so nice to have a talk with them....... they're always curious about why I returned to Our Little Small Town......


commoncents said...

Excellent post!

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