I was up early every morning this week due to appointments and other obligations. On Thursday I even joined the morning commuter traffic as I had to be at Columbia at 8 a.m. 8 a.m.??? I haven’t had to be at school that early since before I retired, 7 years ago. A sixth grade teacher, who just happens to have been the pastor who married my kids 13 years ago, asked me to speak to his class first thing in the morning. Okay. I can do this, I said to myself. And I did.
This is the sixth grade teacher’s first year, at Columbia or any school. Like me, he changed careers in mid-life. It’s his student that I have befriended with materials and such, trying to help him with his self-esteem. I had a good time with the class, telling them the story of filling other’s buckets as well as their own. I tried to hold my presentation to a half hour, and when I started to leave, the students all bellowed, “NO, STAY.” They just didn’t want to do their work, but I was glad they enjoyed my time with them. They all promised to say hi to me when they see me on campus.
I was telling a friend about the class, the fact that they have a new teacher who doesn’t have many classroom supplies, and she offered to buy reading books for the students, if I would allow her to remain anonymous. While we texted back and forth about book, she went online and found 33 books to fit a variety of sixth grade reading levels. I was beyond thrilled. I cried.
Later in the day I learn that a first grade boy’s sister was murdered last weekend. There is also a fifth grade sibling who I will need to look up and see if I can help in any way. The kids have been out of school all week. It was a very violent murder, only a couple of blocks from the school.
Two teachers, one fifth, one sixth, are out on long-term leave. The school is unable to find long term subs for the classes. That is a death-blow to those students in those classes. They need outstanding teachers who offer consistency. I probably should find out who the teachers are and check in on those classes, maybe with a treat of new pencils or some such thing before they leave for Thanksgiving break.
All of this on top of the horrible election results. I’m glad I live in California, a blue state, that seems to have its wits about it. Don’t know for how long, though, since the electorate decided to legalize marijuana growing. There is talk about seceding, but that is just tilting at windmills. Students are scared. So many of them have parents here illegally. Many have families who have finally received medical care under the Affordable Care Act. Syrian refugees are arriving almost daily. Here in Fresno we have a large Sikh population that has already been targeted before this horrific outcome at the polls. There is a large Muslim community. Both groups highly successful but targeted, nonetheless. I don’t understand this unrest among uneducated white people. You live in a great country, with plenty of resources. What are you so afraid of?