Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fuzzy Lines

I know I mentioned before that I'm a teacher at a school for bad kids. Or rather, kids that have made really poor choices.

It doesn't occur to me that what we talk about from day to day in my classroom is pretty wierd, until I share it with people who don't work there.

For example, a boy returned to our program today who had been in a juvenile "home" for the last 30 days. He was there because he violated his probation and had to serve 30 days. I was asking him what it was like, if he had a room-mate, about the food, if he had school...and I learned about "Bob Barkers". These are the shoes that the kids wear in "juvie". I guess they are slip on sneakers.

I overheard a couple other students discussing whether or not it was possible to kill yourself by drinking too much water. I shared that I knew this was possible and that kids who have taken Ecstasy have done this by throwing off their electrolyte balance. This, in turn, turned into a mini-biology lesson about electrolytes and the dangers of messing with stuff you don't know about.

Another student, who is 8 months pregnant, was "grossed out" because when she lays down on her back, the top of her "belly" is "all squishy". I told her that this was because her uterus is expanded and smooshing everything.

This is not stuff they told me about in my teacher prep classes. We learned about "teachable moments" but this was not quite what I had in mind.

But I love these students. I just love these kids and wish that everyone who came in contact with them would have a chance to see them when they expose their hearts and let their guards down. They are so polite to kind to me. They ask about my family, worry about me when I'm not there, and make handmade cards for the other students and teachers on special days.

I wish I could bring them all home, give them a warm bath, some meatloaf and mashed potatos, a warm blanket on my couch as they watch t.v. and oatmeal for breakfast in the morning.

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