Thursday, January 21, 2010

An email from a student on maternity leave

Ms. Maggie,

My project is going good. The baby still hasn't come. I'm so anxious now. Mr. Pete is trying to get us to switch schools. Do you want me to turn in what I have done? I really want to finish the project on my baby because it was a good project and I got a good start on it.

I miss you a lot. Hope to see you soon. Love you so much.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where exactly HAVE I been?

I've been trying to come up with a good post for the last few months. I've been failing miserably, I know. I like lists. So to make this less intimidating, here's a list of the last few months. This will be more regular, I swear (not the lists...okay probably the lists).

1. In September I moved from St. Paul back to Minneapolis. I live two blocks from Lake Calhoun. Happiness.

Okay, maybe not quite happiness. Technically it's a basement. And it's rather noisy. For those of you who didn't know about my apartment in St. Paul, it was a rented condo. Filled with old people. I swear, my roommate and I were the only ones under 70. Also it had a balcony that looked at downtown St. Paul. And it had central air and heat. Whatever, the millions I will make as a teacher will make up for this moment of dankness.

2. For Halloween I went as steam punk. I'm not going to explain it to you. I will only say it was not a serious costume.

3. In early December, a friend of mine died. While we weren't especially close, I'd known her since I was nine years old. Honestly, this has probably been the most difficult funeral I have ever been to. I should not have worn mascara. I wept like a child. I hope I am a fraction of the caring, considerate, thoughtful and happy person she was. She was the most beautiful person I have ever known.

4. I went to Salt Lake City in December to visit my friend, this time with Perry. Hello, fun. We went for a long weekend and basically spa-ed it up and had a great time.

5. In October, I took a position at a new school. This is probably the main reason I have not been posting. While I have a lot of stories, few should, or can, be repeated. And they are rarely cute antics at this point.

Pros: I am fully employed, with benefits, and have the responsibility of technology integration within all four school sites. There are days in which I am truly reminded of why I always wanted to be a teacher. My students teach me more than I could ever learn from my own life.

Cons: Most of the female population is pregnant and/or has had one or more child. Most (if not all) of the boys are involved in gangs. Despite the jerks out there who mock and imitate the Bloods and Crips, it is a very real life for my students. They have made me hate those jerks even more. Most of my students always carry some weapon, narcotics on them. Last Friday a student brought a gun to school for protection. Since I started in October, two students have been buried due to gang violence. One of my students does not have a bed or pillow and sleeps on wood floors. He comes in every morning with a school lunch as the last meal he's had. This is not an unusual situation at my school.

Things that cross my mind on a daily basis:

1. I yelled at _____. I hope he is not waiting outside with a gun/knife/large group of people.
2. How will I cross the race barrier today?
3. Thank God for my life (honestly, I don't think I'll be in a position to complain ever again).
4. God, get me through today.
5. God, get my kids back to me safely.

Quotes from my students that have stood out:

1. "I don't care what you say, you don't know what it's like to live in the 'hood."
2. "Why did you kill Martin Luther King?"
3. "Why do we have to learn this? It's not going to save my life when a gun is against my head."
4. "Oh, man! Damn!"
5. "I like Ms. Maggie. She tells us she loves us."