Monthly Archives: December 2009

38 – She’s Only Seventeen…

Okay…okay…I realize I just showed my age (along with revealing the fact that I once listened to Winger). “Her daddy says she too young, but she’s old enough for me.” (That was for those of you who know the song)…LOL!

But on a more serious note…

I have to tell you about this student of mine…she’s seventeen, a senior.  BOTH of her parents died when she was at an early age, and she now lives with her older brother and his girlfriend.  From what I have gathered…the brother is not extremely stable himself because my student has no personal doctor, medical insurance (no Medicade yet), or personal transportation.

She came in to first period this morning, limping…acting as though it really pained her to walk. After everyone got settled, I asked her if she felt okay. She said she did, but another student said, “No Ms. Friendly! She just left the hospital this morning at 4 a.m. and she should go home!”

The “sick” student protested and said she felt fine. I told her, after looking over her release papers, that I wanted to speak to her in the hallway. I was alarmed because it seemed as though she had a miscarriage. I saw the words “pregnancy terminated by vacuum” written in her diagnosis. My heart immediately went out to her.  She said that she didn’t even know that she was pregnant. She also said that the fetus died while inside of her…she was THREE months pregnant.

She went on to explain to me that she has only had sex twice in her life, and doesn’t see how all those other girls run around doing it without getting “caught.”  She said she had questions when the nurse was talking to her, but her brother was in the room and she didn’t feel she could ask…She was concerned about internal infection, seeing as how the fetus was deceased when born.  I urged her to find a gynecologist.  She said that she would as soon as her brother applied for her Medicaid.

I tried to answer her questions to the best of my ability as well as give her a comforting hug. I felt so sad for her. These kids deal with so much! I just wish that I could save all of them!

Life is just so delicate…


Posted by on December 18, 2009 in Uncategorized


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37 – The Secret Life of Students

There’s so much I don’t know about my students.  Their lives are so much more complicated than mine could have ever been when I was their age.  It scares me…makes me wonder where we, as adults and a community, have failed them.  Were “we” the ones who failed them?

This year alone I have had five of my Seniors tell me that I am the same age (or OLDER) than their mother…WTF?  Really?  That’s just fucking strange (to me) because I am 34!  34…as in three decades plus four years…not, in my book, old enough to have a SENIOR in high school.  I have four seniors who are now pregnant with her own child (sigh).  I shake my head…It makes me sad.

Whatever happened to being a kid?

Today, I facilitated a discussion activity called a “Fishbowl” in class.  The premise behind the fishbowl was to get the students’ creative juices flowing for our upcoming Canterbury Tales project.  For their project, students are to select a modern-day issue and satirize through the persona of a pilgrim from The Canterbury Tales.  Well, needless to say, when I assigned the project last week Thursday, they acted as if I had asked them to shit down each other’s throats instead of “create an authentic project of your choosing.”

Original thought is not something they offer up willingly…LOL!

So, in the name of provocation, I assigned a journal prompt stating the following:

“Write three modern-day issues/topics and create an open-ended question for each issue/topic.”

I collected their journal prompts and selected some of the more juicy questions in which ask.  There were eight students in the “inner-circle.”  Those kids were the ones who answered the questions.  The “outer-circle” kids remained SILENT and took notes (and this REALLY worked until my last class during 6th period).  Once someone from the “inner-circle” spoke, then a student sitting in the “outer-circle” had the opportunity to switch places and participate in the discussion.

I discovered these key things via the fishbowl discussions in various classes:

  • A majority of my students have sex (more than I do)
  • A major majority of my students have UNPROTECTED sex (I do not do that)
  • I am as old as, or younger, than my students’ parents (I’m 34 and they are 17 or 18)
  • They are homeless
  • They have unconventional families (live with grandparents, siblings, foster parents, etc.)
  • They are parents themselves
  • They don’t believe in conventional relationships (or that they will actually work)
  • Don’t have a reliable adult base of support at home

So now…I have a newfound respect for the efforts my mother and extended family members did to ensure my welfare.

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Posted by on December 12, 2009 in Uncategorized


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