Thursday, October 30, 2008

To be wrong, to be right

To be wrong:
I've often joked with my friends that we're all destined to become our parents (in my case, not such a bad thing). I hope this is not true for my students.
Miss Popularity told me that her step father hangs out all day at home smoking pot and playing video games. This is what all of her mom's boyfriends are like she told me. I asked her if she thought it was hard for her mom and she said that she knows it is and that's why she can't be around her any more. She's now living with her aunt in a different district.
Let's Ride Bikes was taken away from his mom when he was very young because - as a drug addict - she neglected him utterly. He has visits with her now - he loves them.
Trains! has a mom who never came to school in the two years I worked with him. As I wrote elsewhere, his mom didn't attend his promotion ceremony to high school despite the fact that it was a major achievement for him.
A new student at my old school, Little Brother, has a mom who tried to drown him when he was 3. He remembers it too. I had his sister 3 years ago. They had 21 cats and she came in smelling like it (mixed with cigarette smoke). He was just placed back at home after living with his aunt and uncle for 8 years (believing they were his parents).
Fake Gangsta's mom had planned on living in her car with FG when she had to leave her apartment because the building was being renovated. (She was only given 6 months notice and 3 months of extensions.) Fortunately, following our urging, she found a new place before that became necessary.
Nintendo's mom seems to be on the hunt for a lawsuit. That and she's enabled her child to be in charge of the family and his old school. According to her, he can't be asked why he behaves a certain way, everyone treats him unfairly and he can't possibly spend time in regular education classes. (He's now in 50% reg. ed classes - ha.)
The list goes on.

To be right:
Introductions' mom advocates for him strongly, accesses outside services, collaborates with the teachers, disagrees respectfully, compliments his teachers and generally works very hard to support Introductions.
Lalia's mom wants her to stay in her home school if at all possible but makes no bones about her goal being Lalia's safety (she's been running lately). She's open about her struggles at home as well as what's been working. She's easy to work with despite the fact that she's got strong opinions and she will disagree with staff if she needs to.
The list of parents who are doing great work, particularly in the face of adversity, is much longer than the above list, I'm sure. I just don't get to work with those parents much.

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