24 October 2006

Sad World

This morning I was in a meeting about a student.

Yesterday, I was also in a meeting about a student, but yesterday the student was present. He heard what all his teachers thought about his classroom behaviour and was required to answer to it and talk about making a change. An hour later he was in the office, having been kicked out of class. He was sent home for the day. This morning before lunch, he was in there again. His eventual consequences are still unclear.

But back to the first student. I'll call him T for now.

T. is a small boy for his age. He lives with his aunt because his mother has Problems (this is common at our school). He is volatile. When he wants to learn, he can control the whole class. When he's not interested, he's distracting everyone.

All his teachers, plus his grade 6 teacher, a resource teacher, the African-NS Student Support Worker, the principal and the VP met with his social worker, and an agency-appointed phychologist. We went through, person by person, and told them our impressions and experiences. Apparently he was in foster care for a while last year and was a completely different person. When we talked about him this morning, we mentioned drug use, sexuality, dangerous mood swings, volatile, unpredictable behaviour, and how we try to deal with it. The social worker and psychologist listened quietly and took notes, they asked questions about certain circumstances and situations, took suggestions, and commented on similar behaviour they've observed.

This is a kid who should be running around and playing, hanging out with his friends, playing on school teams, and getting along with -- instead of harassing -- teachers.

It's so sad that he lives in a world where he has to be something he's not. He's putting all his energy into beng the tough guy, and his life is slipping away.

And the saddest part is that the window that we have to get him the help he needs before this becomes an ingrained aspect of his personality is closing. There will come a point in the very near future where cynicism and hatred take over and he lets his potential go to waste.

I was honestly shocked by what I heard about him. This is classist of me, and I know I don't understand the culture up here on "the hill", but to realize that he's teetering on the edge of something very dangerous, scares me. It's a lot of responsibility for teachers who see him for an hour or so per day. But it's up to us, because no one else can or will take care of him.

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