Friday, November 30, 2007

Day 62

My hair was getting bushy, so I shaved it off. Just like last time, this amused the kids or disgusted them. Nat Turner, who told me I looked like a toad last time, said "You a skillet. You look like the old frying pan." Yasmine said "I don't like you like that." Yasmine herself is bald as a billiard ball. She wears a short wig on top and a long fake pony tail in back. I know she's bald because she was in a fight last week with a 7th grade boy who ended up running down the hall with Yasmine's hair pieces. Half the kids at Booker T.--including most of the girls--have shaved heads, and yet I get a hard time for it. Perhaps I'll buy some fake hair too.

I attended my first IEP meeting. Candi is a wonderful and quiet young girl who rarely gets to first period on time. We had an administrator, two teachers, a social worker, and a special educator in the room. Candi is so shy she wouldn't speak on her own behalf. Occasionally she nodded or shook her head. Her parents are supposed to be included in the process, but her mother is hospitalized. Terrifically obese, Candi's mom is about four months into her ninth pregnancy, and has breathing and mobility problems. Lukie and I met her earlier in the school year when we were trying to get Candi to show up to school on time, and it was obvious that the woman was incapable of raising the kids she already had.

The subject of lateness came up as we discussed educational interventions to help Candi. Candi only spoke once during the entire meeting, in response to "Why are you late every morning?" She said she had to take her baby brothers to school before coming to Booker T. While her mother is in the hospital this 13-year-old is taking care of six younger siblings. Alone. I thought about making her do a fourth draft of her memoir essay last week because she didn't have enough detail, and felt like a heel. She wrote about trying to keep her older brother out of prison by teaching him to do the right thing. He had two strikes already. She's got all this stuff on her plate, and it's amazing we get any homework out of her. I certainly couldn't have handled such a workload at that age. I couldn't do it now.

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