Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Questions I Woke Up With

One of my student's mothers told me yesterday that she is ready to give up on her son, put him in a group home, and start a new life for herself. I'm so angry with her that I don't have words. Without her he doesn't have a chance. She must know that. Yet, every time I think about leaving the school in September, it seems that I am carrying my guilt and her guilt.

There is a powerful movement taking place in my school's neighborhood, one that is gaining more and more followers each day. It is a movement of abandonment. Am I about to join in? I moved here to help, driving in with idealism and big dreams. What happened?

Awareness breeds responsibility, so it is easier to choose to remain unaware. People make that choice every day. Is that where I want to be?

In class the other night, we read an article that said schools should be a society with a common goal. I see the society I have become a part of within this school setting. The common goal seems to be to just make it through each day. It is shortsightedness to a new degree. Hindsight has been banished. It's not living in the moment, but trying not to die in the moment.

And my research topic this semester: Is grouping children with emotional/behavioral disorders into the same classroom effective? Some tiny piece of me says yes as I remember the small victories that crop up here and there. But most of me is screaming NO with overwhelming magnitude, as if, since my one voice does not seem to be enough, each cell and vein and bone is fighting to get out of my body to form a mass that might actually be heard.

Look at the society we're creating. I am one person in a class of 10 children who have seen the pain equal to 1,000 adults. While I still grasp on to straws of hope, I wonder, what am I really supposed to do? And why must I be the one who feels guilty and selfish at the thought that I might not be up for the job? I love teaching, but is that really what I'm doing? And, the question I feel so personally ashamed to ask, at what expense to myself?

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