Conversations With A Girl

This conversation between a veteran Grade 2 teacher and one of his struggling students (a spirited, chatterbox of a little girl), took place on a cloudy October day after school.
Girl: “Mr. “Jones”, I ask my brothers to help me with my homework and they say no.”
Teacher: “What about your mommy?”
Girl: Every time I ask her she says no, she doesn’t want to. That’s why I don’t have my homework sometimes, and that’s why it’s wrong so much. I’m dumb, but nobody will help me.”
Teacher: …..he’s speechless, holding back tears, the kind of tears the little girl was holding back as she spoke of her frustration.

Finally the teacher made her a promise that before class each day and during the last period each day he or another classroom teacher would help her. She would no longer have missing homework

He also finally understood why the girl didn’t want to be transferred out of his class to a teacher who had taught one of her brothers a year earlier. He thought she’d have more success motivating the girl to do her homework, but she cried that she did not want to go. He hasn’t recognized the problem. Had she transferred, he thought, he, would have been the bigger loser in letting down a little 7-year-old crying for help.

This conversation took place during a 45-minute wait for any of the girl’s family members to pick her up after school. Despite having two older brothers at the same school and a mother at home six blocks away, no one picked up the little 7-year-old.

When one of the brothers finally came, the girl hugged her teacher and ran off, spirited by the promised help she had received. But the teacher was angry, targeting his ire toward the mother who he knew spent most of her day dealing in the two mmajor trades of the city’s Red Light district. She also receives welfare and state compensation for having a son in the special education program.

The reality is that she has nothing but time to devote to her children, but she’s too preoccupied. In fact, she’s downright cavalier in her attitude. Her two older sons have had major academic problems, but the daughter at age 7 still has a real chance.

I can go one describing this major mess of a family created by this mother’s lack of care and selfishness, but that’s not the main message here. Although the above story took place in an urban setting don’t believe this is a moral crime found only in urban areas.

In so-called better suburban neighborhoods many mothers pour themselves into any activity that enhances their socialization opportunities and civic portfolio. Many are members of America’s fastest growing club, Soccer Moms (Dad’s, too). These people think nothing of attending meetings every week night. But when it comes to helping with homework or school project, forget about it. “I don’t have time!” is the usual excuse.

Wealthy parents don’t escape this either, many often attending nightly business or social events and leaving the help in the hands of some tutor or foreign nanny. Heck, many don’t share too much time at the dinner table with their children.

The girl at the top of the story wasn’t making excuses. She’s a bit behind where she should be in Grade 2, and she wants to get good grades. She also wants love and attention. The teacher vowed that he would help her with the first needs and give her the last two. He would never let her down again. His year is now dedicated to the little angel.