Statistics and crime map…
Sep 21 Published in Untagged by Purple
This is a continuation of a journal kept during the 2001-2002 school year. Please read the previous posts to see my prefacing comments and to give this post context. Thanks.
Thursday, September 20
I’m pooped. After school yesterday, Soledad, one of my former students came to see me. She’s kept in touch regularly, dropping by to discuss assignments and to get help. She’s a bright, incredibly motivated girl, the daughter of poor farm workers. She’s a junior now, taking a heavy load of Honors English, Honors Chemistry, etc. She’d received a B+ on her last essay and had dropped it off for me to read.
“So what did you think?”
How painful to tell her that I thought a B+ was fair, to explain that her command of English hasn’t quite yet caught up to the depth of her ideas.
She cried. Not because of my comments, but because she’s trying so hard and is exhausted and can envision only A’s as the reward. I talked to her about the long term, how what’s important is learning and the kind of person she is. That she IS going to college and that is what matters, that a few years from now, no one will care whether she had all A’s or not. They will care if she’s smart and competent and kind . . . .
She’s afraid of disappointing her father. She’s never gotten less than an A.
I tried to comfort her and told her how proud I was of her. I pushed back her long, dark hair and gave her a hug, one of those deathly dangerous things for us teachers to do. I just cannot bring myself to give up my humanity for fear of a lawsuit.
I stayed at school and worked until about 4:30 and then went to the Watsonville Spa Fitness to pass some time until Open House. I like the atmosphere at the Watsonville branch of the spa. It reminds me of the differences in the Santa Cruz community where I live and the Watsonville community. The crowd seems less hip, but friendlier. Lots of people greeted one another. The majority of the members are Hispanic. I worked out on a stair master for about twenty minutes and then went down to the steam room. I like that a hot tub, steam room and sauna are located in the women’s locker room. My friend and colleague Roxanne joined me there. When I left, I saw that the snack bar offered turkey noodle soup. “Is it homemade or canned?” I asked.
“Oh, homemade,” the woman answered. What else in Watsonville. “It’s very good.”
“Do you have to-go containers?”
“We can put some in a Styrofoam coffee cup.”
Only after the young man had ladled the soup did I think to ask how much it cost.
To my chagrin, I’d just paid back Roxanne a few dollars I owed her and I was nearly flat broke. When the woman saw my paltry display of change, she said, “We can let you have it for $1.50.”
That would never happen at the 41st Avenue Spa Fitness in Capitola.
“Would you like some crackers with that?” she asked.
I slurped my soup in the teachers’ lounge as the band started to play patriotic songs in the quad and teachers trickled toward the rooms where we’d be greeting parents. I took up headquarters around the corner, alone in my room. During the evening, I had thirteen students represented by parents or interested parties. From sixth period, Xochitl showed with her older sister Mireya who’s attending college. I liked her a bunch. She asked about homework and I assured her that I assign it almost every night and sometimes on weekends. She reiterated what some of my freshmen have said, that apparently I was the only one. It’s anger producing to me. I don’t feel other teachers are doing their jobs if they aren’t giving homework. Even if it’s something small, if a student has homework from every class, he or she should have at least an hour’s worth to do every night. But I’ve heard this complaint before—the student has NOTHING.
Roberto also came with his mother. I let her know that Roberto needed to pick up the pace a bit on homework. Her concern was his football. Sometimes practice would last until seven and by the time he ate, he’d be too tired.
Unwinding from the night at home, I found the photographs from the trip to New York with my colleague and students. There it was. “View from The World Trade Center.”