Saturday, July 23, 2011

Coming to a close

Well, summer school is almost over!  I really can't believe it.  And I'm excited, because it means I'll be transitioning to my actual school, but I'm sad too, because I love those kiddos.  They're so funny, so sweet, and I hope they all do well next year.  I'm going to miss those faces coming through the door every morning.

I'm going to miss all of them and their humor and personalities and even hearing, "What page?" 100 times a day.

I'm going to miss Xay, who told me never to use his "government name" that's printed on the roll, and who doesn't shut his mouth from the time he gets into the classroom until the time he leaves.  But then when you go to scold him, he's just so nice and charming about it that you find yourself somehow...not scolding him.  He has an uncanny ability to turn things around so that sometimes, you walk away wondering why you were at his desk to call him down in the first place.

I'm going to miss Fobi, who moved from Africa and has an awesome accent, and who'll tell you all about raising ducks and chickens for his family when he lived there, and how different things are here.  I'm going to miss Tobias, who's the macho athlete, but also a really sweet kid who'll stand up for Fobi when the other kids laugh at his different accent or his stories that weren't meant to be funny.  "You mess with Fobi, you mess with me."

I'll miss Mike, who wore a different camouflage shirt every day, honestly I think to be invisible.  Who started physically shaking the first time I asked him to share his writing in front of the class, but who played the lead in a class skit by the end of the term.

I'll miss Sabrina, who most people write off because she has two pending felonies and an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet.  But turns out I knew her case - her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend was a habitual felon, eight years older than her, and whose file I had in front of me during my first year at the DA's office.  And in my opinion, Sabrina's just a young girl who got involved with the wrong guy, and I hope this doesn't ruin her life forever.  She's the one who helped Mike gain the confidence he needed to get in front of the class on that first day, and for every day after that.

I'll miss Cartavius and the "Aww man," he'd give me every time I said something he didn't like.  I'll miss Tyre and our talks about swimming and how that got him off the wrong path and onto the right one.  I'll miss Max and his skinny jeans and thoughtful answers.  I'll miss Karina's creativity that astounded me every time I read one of her papers, and her talent for story-writing and characterization.  I'll miss Kassi and the blue streak in her hair, and the pages and pages she wrote in her notebook even when I didn't ask her to.  I'll miss walking by Edgardo's desk and seeing his folders and papers, and sometimes even his arms, covered in intricate designs that he just couldn't stop drawing.  I'll miss Dalia's quiet intelligence and Rodrigo's shyness, that disappeared every time I sat him with Dalia.

We were sweltering in the lack of air conditioning on Monday mornings together, we were drowning in all the paperwork and assignments that an eight-hour-a-day English class produces together, and most of us were stuffy and sick and ill with each other by the last day.  We're all still wondering who's going to be successful on the final on Monday and who isn't.  I'm sure we're all crossing our fingers together.

I hope they learned at least a little something from our class, even if they'll never use quotation marks correctly, no matter how many comments on papers I write, or how much I jump up and down.  If they learned one thing about forgiveness, about potential, or about perseverance, I'm happy.  I think they're all going to do just fine on Monday.  I'm so proud of them!

And I'll stop being sappy now, but I have to say that you hear people talking about being in the place they need to be, and doing what they love, and being happy - but until you're there, you have no idea what that means.  I am so lucky to have been allowed to be part of this program, because I can't tell you anything else that has really ever made me feel so good.  To be honest, I can't believe they're actually going to pay me to do this in the fall.  Except I already caught a cold from school and it is literally 100 degrees outside - my immune system is seriously going to have to up its game if I am going to make it through the real cold season!

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