search  current discussion  categories  wanted/for sale - wanted 

not addressing add/a story

updated sat 30 sep 00


Joyce Lee on fri 29 sep 00

....... just relating a story that happened to me early on, well before
I'd even thought of beginning the degree needed to teach students who
didn't "fit" into "our" system. Strange, huh? It's always the kid who
doesn't "fit," not the teachers nor the administrators nor the system
itself.... just the kid.... Anyway, one summer I was fortunate enough to
once again teach the enrichment program for 34 fifth graders ... loved
keeping my hand in at the elementary level through this program... no
textbooks ..... just all our minds coming together to be enriched four
hours a day. Wow.

Notes in my mailbox as well as private conferences with other teachers
warned me about Bobby and that I should not allow him to "destroy" my
classroom.... if his bad, bad mom forgot to give him his ritalin, I was
to send him home pronto. If I couldn't locate the b.b. mom, I was to
send him "outside"...... not to the office.... where reportedly he would
"destroy" the "school".... just "outside," where I was assured he would
sit until bbmom was found.... and which was illegal to do, by the way.

Sure enough, Bobby showed up bright and early and did so most every day
..... sometimes having taken his medicine, sometimes not ....noticeably
smaller than the other children ... sweet, freckled all-boy face ...
shy... hopeful. To shorten a VERY long story with many chapters, I
determined that I was Invincible and would accept the Challenge .... and
decided that we were going to make this work. I'd be proud to report
that all went sublimely and that I had all the answers ..... not by a
long shot..... in fact, I knew very few of the questions. I think that
I managed to maintain my composure in front of the other students (who
LOVED having a scapegoat, another story in itself) but I did shoot many
unkind, unteacherly, unloving looks from time to time to this small
uncontrolled dynamo ..... bad bad teacher..... BUT we made deals every
fifteen minutes or so... deals which we sometimes even managed to keep
.... spoken deals, whispered deals, deals on notes passed from one of us
to the other ... and got through the summer without Bobby being banished
even once. Although at one point, Bobby did flee the classroom and his
Wicked Wicked Teacher and join the younger children at recess. He... nor
the class.... could understand WHY I sent for him to return to our
classroom..... seems he was small enough to blend in with the younger
ones and that his "regular" teachers just let him stay out whenever he
escaped. I could empathize with such an attitude. The temptation to
leave him be was strong for me, too, but we had a deal... that he would
not be banished, which meant that he could not banish himself either.

One of my many Moments of Enlightenment with Bobby occurred when ... big
sigh of relief..... he was a couple hours delayed one morning ... and
one of the girls asked me if I liked Bobby. I replied that of course I
liked Bobby (which was true) and she then reported that Mrs. Blank, his
teacher last year, hated him .... when I misguidedly attempted to say
the usual adult thing..... that I was sure she hadn't hated Bobby.. a
whole chorus arose, which with great energy informed me that ALL of
Bobby's teachers hated him and the principal did and the school nurse
did and even his own mother hated him. I'm not sure what I said or what
the students said to make a difference (small difference) but when Bobby
came in that day, the anti-Bobby climate had modified and he was much
more a part of the class for the remaining weeks of summer school... he
even was selected close-to-first for some of the teams (Mean Process ...
that popularity selection thing .... but I didn't know better in those
days.) Sometimes he still sat at the back of the room eating paper and
stolen pencils and sometimes I let him..... bad bad teacher .... but
sometimes not.

Have time to find out what happened to Bobby? I followed his career as a
badbadboy through gossip and the local newspaper... he never made it to
the high school where I worked. Leaving out a thousand details, Bobby is
now in prison....... again..... state prison..... again....... always
imprisoned for violent acts .... I wonder why he's so angry ....... bad
bad man........

In the Mojave