Things I taught the kids this week without formal academic instruction:
What “flush” means (while building a garden box and trying to make the end of a plank flush to another)
How threads on a screw work (when I was asked why we weren’t just using nails)
That metal can be soft and flexible (while building a pizza box solar oven)
That complementary colors make one another darker (while working on a poster)
What “mixed media” means (when the kids wanted to make posters of their own)
How root vegetables develop (when looking at seed packets and explaining “direct sow”)
That your body is yours, and no one can tell you what to with it if you don’t want to (during a very complicated scenario and many private conversations over the course of a day that can’t be elaborated on)
What causes some skin cancer (when trying to convince the kids to put on sunblock after they swore they didn’t need it because they don’t burn)
That sound is made by vibrations, and can travel through physical objects (to a middle schooler, while talking about soup-can-and-string telephones)
How a kite flies (while making newspaper kites)
So I guess I need to stop beating myself up about not being able to teach them anything if we don’t have tutoring in the summer.
I was coming in an hour late today because we needed me to stop off at a hardware store to get the supplies for the garden box (after which I am fairly certain hell is being a female customer in the lumber section of a hardware store, for eternity).
When I got to the program space I was greeted by a rush of kids who acted like they thought I was never coming back.
Apparently the supervisor had said to them that they would miss me if I was gone. I have no idea what the context for that was — I’ll have to ask tomorrow. But the kids translated this as (and told me that they were told), “_____ is leaving.”
It’s two months before my lease is up and the summer programs are over and I actually leave them. The supervisor had said that the timing worked so well that it would be an easy, organic transition — so now, as I find myself once again looking for ways to stay here, with them, I feel guilty doing so. It isn’t the same as a school position — there’s no scripted moving-on time. It’s hard to know when the time is actually right, or whether you’re doing the kids a disservice by leaving or hanging around.
But now a handful of them know for sure that if I don’t find a teaching position I’ll be leaving, and that if I do I’ll likely still be leaving, because the schools closest to them (not their district, but neighboring ones) have let me know that I’m not what they’re looking for. The way information spreads, the whole town will know by Monday.
Well, no, the way it spreads in this particular town, by Monday I will be leaving them because I killed someone and/or am going to the moon. But at least it will give me an interesting note to leave on.
At a local comic shop — this may not surprise anyone familiar to some extent with comic shops — is a shelf lined with canisters of dice.
One of these canisters is full of emotion d10s — ten-sided dice with either words or faces noting a variety of emotional reactions. Health lessons involving emotions and roleplaying, art practice, writing challenges and character development exercises…the possibilities make me giddy, but because I didn’t have a classroom at the time, I never picked one up.
My supervisor wants to try doing some improv and acting games, and all I keep thinking about is this d10. So I may have to invest in one, try it out with the kids, and see how it goes.
So I had a revelation today that was likely a long time coming:
I make much deeper connections with students at the middle school ages than I ever have with students at the early elementary ages. It isn’t that I don’t still have meaningful interactions with younger students, or that I put any less value on my relationships with them as a teacher, mentor, or whatever capacity in which I interact with them. But it seems like I’m more usefulto students at that particularly tumultuous age — I don’t know if I’m explaining this very well. Does it make any sense?
So this is good in that I might be able to redirect myself. There isn’t much better a time than when nothing is working in the elementary direction. I can work toward extending my certification to the middle grades.
But…there’s one big issue.
I LOVE ALL THE SUBJECTS. I’m just as ridiculously enthusiastic about creating stories as I am about experiments. There’s a slim chance of my ever picking favorites between maps and graphs. One of my favorite things about lesson-planning is making everything connect, building interdisciplinary units, showing students that things overlap.
…so…aside from having my own kids, what’s a rounded geek to do?
Many of our program kids are completely bored by the idea of reading. So far, some of the most successful “gateway” tools to get them back into reading for recreation have been the -ology series of books (Pirateology, Wizardology, etc.), which include little interactive, almost gimmicky pieces to their pages; DK-style guides to fictional universes, which draw the kids in with huge maps and images and lead them to the text with new curiosity; and choose-your-own-adventure books.
Once they discovered those books existed, they WANTED to go to the library. They’re excited about going now. It makes me incredibly happy to see them so eager just to fish through all titles.
A few of the oldest students who have reading difficulties have also started latching on to audiobooks.
While eliminating violent acts is imperative, reducing the concept of a hostile school environment to the acts of individual (troubled) students who can be rehabilitated merely contains and manages the violence, rather than addressing its causes. When the absence of reported bullying functions as the indicator of a safe or inclusive school for LGBTQ students and families, we fail to account for the social processes at work in sustaining the patterns of homophobic bullying and the — subtle, often unintentional — ways schools help to sustain these patterns decade after decade, beginning in the early years of schooling.
We want to challenge the taken-for-granted conceptualization of LGBTQ youths’ school experiences and argue for a broader understanding that encompasses cultural systems of power — specifically along lines of gender and sexuality — that persistently privilege specific groups of youth while marginalizing others. In other words, we need to examine how U.S. culture assumes heterosexuality and traditional gender expressions to be “normal” and “right” and how such values permeate the policies, procedures, and curricula in K-12 schools, making non-traditional gender expressions and sexualities “not normal” and “wrong/bad” or “less than” and thus potential targets.
Shifting the definition of “the problem” in this way demands a different framing of peer-to-peer aggression than that which underlies the dominant bullying discourse. It requires recognition of how patterns of targeting serve the purpose of enforcing strict cultural expectations around gender and sexuality — and how these cultural expectations are being taught and reinforced by the schools themselves. Further, this shift calls for an examination of how aggression functions in youths’ pursuit of social status in elementary, middle and high school.
Because victim blaming isn’t just for rape/sexual assault victims/survivors…
With many things that end up touching on education, I just want to add the usual, “We who have been there have known this (and wished for this) for years, where has the rest of the world been?”
And I don’t say that just as a teacher, but as a student whose heroes were sometimes the teachers who made the very basic but very conscious decision of defending our right to exist.
If you work with young people and have ever been in an environment that was poison to anyone LGBTQ, that works against them, that tells them they are the other, let me reassure you — including them, publicly treating them the same as their peers, acknowledging and speaking up against bullying that can be as basic as name-calling or violence or as subtle as veiled commentary through classroom conversations — these things that seem like they don’t do enough may mean everything.
You don’t need to be a movie hero who rallies loudly and fields death threats and has to fear for their life walking to their car to change the school environment. A few friends and I were talking about this — about the expectations set for people as to what radical change looks like. Radical change is listening to the people you’re trying to help when they tell you what’s wrong, and working with them to act first on that. Radical change is sometimes feeling like you’re standing alone because not everyone can risk the consequences of standing up with you, because people are afraid, because people are tired of fighting every day against the little things. Radical change is sometimes slow, sometimes thankless, sometimes exhausting and sometimes looks and feels at first glance like you haven’t achieved anything.
But it’s also a couple of years from now when you tell someone about the little things that happened before and they’re horrified, because it seems so different from where you are now, and how could that have happenedhere? It’s the graduating student who makes it through when you were worried they might not, and the incoming students who may not even be able to fully appreciate how meaningful that is. It’s the teacher that feels less like they’re living a double life.
And again, I say this not only as a teacher, but as a student who has been there. Look at the little things in the big picture. And if you cannot find them, ask someone who knows them so intimately that they would be all too happy to have help in changing them.
If I do not get any of the teaching jobs I’ve applied for, I can move back home and work for my dad doing glass installation and repairs while trying to find a part-time MA program in Social Work (the other half of my career aspirations).
So if you ever know anyone on Long Island who needs auto glass or plate glass work and I’m not in a classroom you should let me know, and ShapeFutures will be there to hook them up.
I’m cosponsoring a GSA next school year. We had a student request one, and he asked if coworkerBFF and I would sponsor it. Admin has “approved” it, in that they can’t NOT approve it. But the principal seems genuinely on board and supportive in that “Oh, really? Cool,” kind of way when I’ve talked…
One of the most successful events that our college GSA had, one that I’d wished I’d thought to do at the high school, was our “family nights.” “Family night” was so-named because at the college level we were very much part of a family of choice in the LGBT student group, building a second family for ourselves, where we could be ourselves, when some of the students could not do the same in any other space.
(A good GSA often follows, to some degree, the Vegas principle — you don’t call out people in the hall, even in a friendly way, who were in the meetings with you, because you never know who that might put in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation. As my first college group president explained, “We know you love each other, just don’t go screaming “YO HOMO I MISS YOU SO MUCH” in the middle of the hall.”)
Family Night is subversive: pizza or potluck, and a movie. The food was free to all because we did it potluck style and made it work on a very limited ($12-$20 a meal for up to 20 people) budget. The fact that people could bring in their own food, and in some instances, cook together (one night we did pancake night with a portable electric griddle) really brought people together in a way that pizza didn’t always do.
The movie was always LGBTQ themed — whether it was a popular movie with an LGBTQ character, an indie film focused on the community, a documentary, a musical, what-have-you. We even at one point got a live performance from a local trans* musician and activist.
And people chatted. Half the time everyone ignored the movie — they were busy broken into clusters having food and talking, making real relationships and bonds. But the people who did watch the movies, often in awe, were most often out straight and cis allies who were just as often very new to the idea, to the community, to the issues. We had a whole group of straight cis folk, new allies — friends from one of the sports teams one of us was on — sit through MILK in stunned silence, cry at the end, and ask if it really happened.
If you can make it an afternoon or evening thing once a month, or every other month, or even just twice a school year, you can also open it up eventually to the community at large, or have one instance where it’s open, IF that’s something that students are comfortable with, because of course it’s about creating their safe space first.
This was the event that actually brought the group together, expanded our membership, and really made us a “family,” which is why I recommend it first — I’ll pass more along when I think of it.
I don’t own a single pair of wearable, matching socks. I may not even own a single pair of wearable, non-matching socks.
What kind of adult am I?
Sometimes I get tired of trying to find matches for my socks that I throw them out and start all over.
I am well-known among my friends and family — and in a place that allows such silliness in the dress code, like my current position, my kids — for almost never matching my socks, period. You get more colors on that way.
But it’s good to keep a few pairs of “professional” socks stuffed in the back of the drawer for when they’re necessary.
The first thing people want to know is: what do you do? And when you tell them that you are a teacher, the inevitable second question is, “What grade do you teach?” Then there is this look. When I say 7th and 8th grade there is this face that people make that I can’t even begin to understand. It’s…
I think we all get this. There are so many people who just don’t understand why we do what we do, but at the very least, we can tell them how great our jobs are. :)
I always take it as acknowledgement that they couldn’t do my job as well as I can. I also make sure to tell them that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and being as happy.
When I was working in the middle school I actually got this from other teachers! The funniest part was that they were almost always high school teachers —and I cannot even comprehend teaching students that are almost all taller than me and so close in age to myself. I would never say ‘I’m sorry’ and neither do they, generally — but we tend to exchange an “I just don’t know how you do that.”
“I mean UNICEF is following you, you should tell them that too. That’s important, right? And don’t a lot of people read your work? Can you put that somewhere?”
It isn’t practical but it was a really sweet suggestion, and an adorable ego boost.
Do your employers know you have a blog?
My principal knows I have A blog, and he’s aware I talk about teaching on it, but he doesn’t know what it is or what I do really. He knows about it because of the support I got for my Donors Choose project as well as other classroom supplies that have been donated by tumblr readers through my Amazon wishlist.
Has he ever pressed for more information? I’ve considered mentioning it in conversation as an example of the ways in which I use technology to further my own skills as a teacher — research, collaborating, discussing — but am wary of the possibility that it might turn to “Oh? Can we see it? Why not?”
How is it lazy to recognize that Twilight contains themes that are harmful to young women?
No, that’s not being lazy. That’s using a critical eye. That’s what we want; a discussion.
Then you can also draw parallels to other works of CLASSIC and RESPECTED literature that also also carried similar themes that can be harmful to young women or that don’t broach/reproach the suppression of females that Meyer idealizes: Romeo and Juliet (kill yourself for love!), Pride and Prejudice (Your entire monetary future and comfortable existence rests with a man, but hopefully you can find one you love!), Tess of the D’ubervilles (sexual hypocrisy), Merchant of Venice (it’s totes okay if you trick your lover just to prove you’re smarter; NINJA EDIT: Ethnic supression! Jews and Ventians! Wolves and Vampires! IF YOU PRICK US DO WE NOT BLEED?!!).
We’re referring to people who don’t even bother to do that, and say, “It’s rubbish; don’t read that.” You can’t ignore a commercial powerhouse like Twilight and its impact on its readership.
Though I do agree that it shouldn’t be dismissed (if a huge group of young people is engaging with something encouraging harmful ideas should we really ignore it?), I do wonder if it’s fair to say that Twilight is, in a way, worse than these classics. The respected literature you draw parallels to was all written in different time periods and, unfortunately, reflect certain sociocultural norms. I would LIKE to say Twilight has no excuse — though I think we could just as easily say that this isn’t the case, looking at the way women are still objectified, etc.
So could we take that critical analysis a step further and ask ourselves if Twilight is a reflection of current norms, and tie that into other pieces of popular culture as well?
Sitting doing coloring and doodle pages with your kids
and ending up in the middle of a conversation about how much they hate Obama, in the words of the younger of the two (it was an 8-year-old and a 17-year-old) for being “stupid,” “ugly,” and “weird.”
I asked the younger of the two if that was a) the way we talked about people here, and b) a good reason to dislike a president. Their response:
"Well I’m sorry, he is! …no, I’m sorry. But he just does a bad job. I miss Bush."
Then they said EVERYBODY thinks he’s doing a bad job and I cleared my throat. The older of the two amended, “Well, not everybody,” and continued from there. At least I’m glad that I didn’t make them feel too uncomfortable to continue…discussing it, if it could be called a discussion.
I saw the post with the white board about the girl writing down that she would not eat because she needed to lose weight. I was wondering if after you see the goals posted on the white board whether you have a discussion with the class about the goals and maybe discuss proper nutrition--I mean, not in a way that would make someone feel bad but in a way that would help them improve their goals and understanding of nutrition or whatever the issue may be.
It’s not so much a class as an out of school time program, but we definitely chat with the kids about their goals — even if just to say “That’s a great goal this week!”
When I asked R about it, I approached it wrong. I sounded concerned, and told her that I didn’t think she needed to lose weight. But for someone who views themselves as needing to lose weight (especially if they don’t need to), that’s more likely to make them tune out than anything, to view the person saying so as someone that doesn’t understand. I was just so stunned. No matter what I said after that point, no matter how supportive, was in one ear and out the other for R.
So tomorrow I’m going to approach it a different way. I’m going to tell R that being healthy is a really admirable goal, and ask her WHY she feels like she should lose weight, and what her goal is more specifically — if it’s to look a certain way, to feel a certain way, etc. And we’ll go from there, and hopefully in a healthier direction once I know what it is she’s really going for.
And because this has come up before — the dieting thing, the weight thing — I’m going to talk to my supervisor tomorrow about making one of our themed weeks in the summer about nutrition and health. We need to redirect their views of what’s healthy away from negative body image and toward healthy lifestyles.
Over the summer in general, we’re also going to start having them make paper trails of long-term goals, which I’ll do a how-to post and follow-up (once the kids have done it and I can assess how it went) later this month or so.
Yesterday H was barred from program for three weeks.
He referred to another (absent) member, soon to be junior staffer, as the r word. I reminded him that we don’t use that word in program AND that we do not speak that way about people in general here. He (and another few kids) told me that everyone says it.
I gave him a disciplinary measure. Ours are usually minor tasks that you pick out of a hat, including small chores, apology letters, etc.
He continued with his art project.
I told him again to go take a disciplinary measure.
He continued with his art project and reminded me that everyone does it. The other kids watched and waited.
I told him that he was done with the art project for the day.
He stood up, slammed down his materials, and swept his arms out to throw folding chairs that other students were working on as desks on his way out, injuring another program member in the process.
That wasn’t even what got him barred. No, my supervisor tried to call someone at home, calmed him down, and gave him another chance. Then at the end of the evening, instead of walking from a visit next door to the program space (we can send certain kids back on their own if they’re older or with an older member, it’s literally next door in a dead end street), he hid in the bushes.
When I was walking him back, after he revealed himself, he said the supervisor lets him. I was doubtful, asked when we got in. The supervisor had been calling him for ten minutes and has NEVER let him do that. There was half an hour left. Over this, of all things, the supervisor told him he had to go home.
He argued, used all kinds of language, called the supervisor a “bitch.” Was told to come back in three days.
I don’t know WHAT he said when he was walking away that upped it to two weeks, then three. But it was enough to trump throwing chairs.
Released late last week, the government study revealed that in a nationwide study of 15,000 high school students, pot is now more popular among teens than cigarettes, CBS reports. Eighteen percent of surveyed students in 2011 reported smoking a cigarette in the past month, while 23% reported smoking marijuana in the last 30 days.
Perhaps thanks to the anti-smoking campaigns in ads and in schools, or to the personal experiences teens may have with family members or relatives with lung cancer, cigarette use has been on the decline over the past few years.
But apparently, the association of marijuana with cancer and other health risks is not as prevalent among teens. “I just hear a lot of dangers of cancer and cigarettes and I think that’s why a lot of teens look to marijuana,” Tianda, a Philadelphia high school junior who wasn’t identified by her full name, told CBS Philly.
In Teen Talk quite a few of our kids have told me that they wouldn’t smoke cigarettes, or have tried them and didn’t like them, but that they would or do smoke pot. I’m also living in an area that takes a very soft stance on marijuana, and it’s very strange to hear even some staff people act very lax about it (some of them use it, or believe it should be legalized) coming from a place that always placed it firmly in the “this is a drug, never use it, you will get arrested” category. If they’re under the legal age limit I don’t want them drinking OR smoking — smoking anything. But I also can’t say “It’s bad, don’t do it, it’s illegal,” and expect that to work…especially not in a town so riddled with substance abuse.
When the adults are making it okay - which seems to be, from what I see around me, a large factor with marijuana - why wouldn’t the kids think it’s okay?
Draft out a version of the abs challenge that starts tomorrow and is appropriate for middle and high schoolers
Make a poster about the difference between healthy living and dangerous dieting
Figure out what to do for Art Studio instruction since no one’s really been all that interested when they could be playing ball on the porch instead (…why, why does my supervisor keep scheduling those things at the same time?)
Look up prices for bulk or wholesale lot artist dummies on ebay
Put in an order for more art pens - no XS this time, they pretty much instantly destroyed those
Test out a “Month Goal” worksheet to go with the weekly goals we’ve been having kids put on the white board, which has gotten pretty popular and tells a lot about their troubles, hopes, and priorities (i.e., “I won’t throw rocks at my dad’s house.”)
My supervisor said we needed to start being more task-oriented and plan ahead of time. They want me to start doing more programmatic planning. But they…make up the day’s schedule that day, half the time on the fly as we’re writing the schedule down for the kids. So it’s a bit of a constant struggle with this do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do thing — but it’s two different worlds, the programmatic and the day-to-day, so I guess it works out.
The conversation that, even if nothing works out, made everything better for a little while
(Some of the older kids know that I'm looking for teaching jobs nearby, so that I can still be accessible and won't have to go back to NY. It's just me and a couple of "difficult" 6th grade girls working in the kitchen.)
Girl 1:So how's the job-search going?
Me:Well, I'm pretty sure I was turned down for one of the big ones, but we'll see.
Girl 2:You should just work here! There are like four teachers leaving!
Me:Haha, really? But that's at the middle school isn't it?
Girl 1:Oh my god you should be our math teacher. Instead of ________.
Girl 2:No seriously they're retiring. There's gonna be a 7/8 math teacher and a chorus teacher and I don't know what else.
Me:...really? ...but I don't think I can teach that level of math.
Girl 1:OH MY GOD! Yes you can! Be the math teacher! I'll be in that class next year WE NEED YOU YOU HAVE TO DO IT.
Me:No I mean I don't know if I KNOW it well enough for 8th, and you need special certifi -
Girl 1:Who CARES? Be our math teacher!
Girl 2:Or chorus! I don't even TAKE chorus but if you were the chorus teacher I would so take it.
(...I cried a little. Then they teased me about it. Then we made garlic bread.)
What's up with Call Me Maybe, or the INSTANT way to make me smile at something
I am not a dancer. That is, I am not a dancer publicly. Or I wasn’t. I’m the kind of person that plays the same song on repeat sixty times with the door closed, makes up choreography, and dances around the apartment to it until I collapse.
Late last year I started taking lessons because they were incredibly cheap and I’d always wanted to — and also because I mistook western two-step for line-dancing and thought I’d be prepping some great moves for a drag show that didn’t happen but that’s a different story for a different time and likely not this blog — and discovered I was very good at it. So I dabbled. And I still didn’t let anyone really see it if I wanted them not to laugh at me.
Somehow, when I started working at my current program, the kids talked me into trying Dance Central. It took them two weeks to get me to try it because I am supposedly an infamously BAD dancer and was already trying (too hard) to get them to respect me. Next thing I know I’m getting challenged by the same group of kids every time the game is out, and picking up moves from the game and doing them to music we play in the club. And they all laughed at me for it. And I actually didn’t care, and when I didn’t care they stopped asking what was wrong with me and why I was so _____ (discipline was in fact administered for some of went in that blank).
And then Call Me Maybe happened.
And on a whim I made up some of the most ridiculous moves ever to the chorus while I was driving to work, and it stuck. And I did it in the club without thinking about it.
And then they shouted for me every time the song came on to come dance so they could laugh. And put it on a playlist so it would come on every twenty minutes or so. And used my phone to record me doing said dance. One of the program youth even repeatedly does the moves whenever the song comes on at the community’s bi-weekly youth dances (which I’m so glad they have, by the way) even though everyone looks at her “like I’m crazy” and laughs “because they know you started it.”
I have said video of this ridiculousness, but I can’t post it because some of the kids are in it very briefly and because it shows my face. I could show it to a few people privately, but I can’t post it. You understand.
So now, whether it’s a meme or a cover or a playback, this is a “thing.” And it is a decidedly good thing. Because this song was very much the first major bonding point with my kids, and even when I leave it’s going to be “our song.”
Now that I've calmed down, the up side of the day:
Teen Talk went beautifully.
They want to do it twice a week.
Well, they want to do it every day, but we can’t do that. So for now we’re going to run it twice a week.
They even sat down afterward, a couple of the most difficult attendees, and made a list together of things they’d like to talk about. And it was a really good list, which I can’t share because they wrote in big letters “FOR ____ TO READ ONLY” and folded it in half.
But hey…this is not an age group I thought I’d do well with, and apparently they trust me and want to talk with me about a little of everything (to my occasional terror). And that’s a better result than I ever could have hoped for.
I’m finding this out as I’m putting in for my final certification paperwork.
I’m not even in the same state as any of my records and physical receipts. I don’t…
I’m going to have to take it again.
And I don’t know if I have time to do that before the application will be reviewed.
I may not have a certification in time to actually teach next year.
EDIT: …I registered and paid for the July exam.
So PPT and GWALP, your commissions were going to pay the leftover on the heating bill, but since I know the folks there and they won’t send me to a creditor for taking another month to pay it…they’re helping pay the cost of this exam instead.
As will my friend Devin’s.
Then I’ll need a couple of more to pay the certification application fee.
But as long as you keep going back, as long as you keep trying, as long as you show them that you aren’t giving up…it’s at least partially okay.
And I’m not going to say “it will get better” or “it will be okay” — because for some of these students, it won’t. We aren’t a school. They don’t have to come back. In fact, for certain behaviors, we can’t LET them come back for periods of time or else the program could be shut down.
Some of their parents just do not care. Some of them have no one in their lives that care about them, and even though we care about them we cannot allow them to act the way they do and still come.
Some of them change their behavior, because coming to the program is that important to them. Because they have nowhere else to go.
Some of them don’t. Some of them refuse to take personal responsibility. What can we do, when they don’t want to learn, when no one else is reinforcing it?
I don’t know. I don’t know if we’re really helping these kids. I don’t know if we’re really teaching them anything. I don’t know if we can, because there are so many other forces at work that are working against us. Someone stole something last week in the club, and many of the kids, though they condemned it, said “What do you expect? It’s [town]. That’s what they’re teaching them.”
But we can be there. We can come in every day. We can hold them accountable in our space. We can even try to hold them accountable after hours — we’ve had so many incidents of our kids disturbing the neighborhood this week that the policy has become, “If you loiter across the street once you sign out, you can’t come back for a day.”
Whoever said "Don't bring your work home with you" has never dealt with certain difficult situations that face certain professions...
One upper elementary boy has been facing some very hard problems at home and is then creating some very hard problems for out program for our program, to the point that we may have to bar him from coming for a week. I cannot go into details, but I am frustrated because there is nothing we can do at this point — the school and home fronts need to step in on a level they’re just not doing. His actions down the street from the program space yesterday, while he was signed out and we could not take any responsibility for him, created such a problem that one youth’s parent had to pick them up (they signed out, wandered down, were subject to a one-sided fight, and then came back), and another parent stormed the space shouting (among other things) that we need different staff because all our youth are horrifically behaved and we can’t control them.
In front of all our kids.
Today I’m going to have a very brief talk with the other youth — they’ve been complaining that we have “too many rules” (including no swearing, no physical altercations even as a joke, no rough-housing on the lawn). I’m going to let them know that what the woman said was untrue, that much of what she said is an example of stereotyping and ageism…but that we as a program are only here as long as the community wants us to be. And that their actions represent our program both in and out of program time in such a small town like this one.
This morning I woke up from a strange nightmare in which — among other bizarre and sometimes violent occurrences — I found this student dead.
Coffee is necessary this morning. Lots of coffee. As for holding it together at work, I have no idea.