Tuesday, March 23, 2010

85 hours... and counting. And this may be why.

Today I walked into my classroom and every single dry-erase marker had been stolen. I borrowed some from next door, which didn't really work either. By 4th period, might as well have had a white dry erase marker on a white dry erase board.

Why did this happen? Because the lock to my classroom is broken. It doesn't lock.
Today a student, "Greg" walked into class that was not supposed to be there - he claimed he was a "Senior with a half-day schedule." I've seen him around, but I don't actually know him!

Since it was during my prep period, no students were in the room. I had a "pep talk" with him about my expectations for him to succeed and attend all his classes, and grow up to be the intelligent young man I know he is. He then asked me "if I was a baby mamma," "if I was married" or if I had a boyfriend. Yes. Random.

Then proceeded in trying to convince me to be his girlfriend. Even after I asked him to leave, he didnt. So I did.

Greg decided to return during 4th, 5th, AND 8th period. During the other periods, he was in my class disturbing other females. Upon me addressing him, his response was: "You're just jealous cuz I aint flirting with you. But you rejected me. So stop it already. Dont bother me. Just go on with your lesson, as I flirt with my friends here."

- "Don't tell me what to do - get out because you are disrespecting my students, myself, and yourself by staying here because you have a place to be." - nothing. He would get up, walk around the class, pretend to walk out of the door, and sit at another seat.

I've never had to call security from my classroom before - but after 3 attempts (he would leave by the time security got there, then come back... leave and come back), he was finally taken. He is not allowed to walk into the class again-he is probably suspended for a few days. He is a 9th grader who has a FULL day schedule and cut class all day.

Was I upset? More like Livid. Lied, cut class, herrassed me AND my students - He's also way taller than me ao i couldn't physically get him OUT of my classroom.
Today a SUB told her students they were "acting black" when they were misbehaving.

Fuck no. I am going to organize the students who were in the class when she said this to write a letter to the administration about this (I wasn't there). Students were all riled up and that's how I found out about it. Rightfully so. wtf?

You know my issues with that. L-I-V-I-D. FYI, she is Black herself. (But it doesn't matter what you are - you DO NOT tell misbehaving black high school students that). GUH.
Today "Dequan" was working on a classroom assignment - we were reviewing a test he took. "I know this, I know this - I don't need help." "Dequan, you got 3 our of 5 wrong with this standard. Let's try working these out to make sure you're good to go to the next unit."

So, I proceeded with helping him, sitting at his same eye level. When I spoke with him, he would direct his eyes toward my chest. "Dequan, look at me in the eyes, or on your paper please."

After 3 redirections, he finally said: "Can you breastfeed me."

That has a whole other number of consequences in it of itself.
I was asked to subtitute for 10th period today (starts at 4:45p), so I stayed at school until then. When I got to class, another sub was already there. I could have actually left work earlier today. But instead left at 5:30 and wasn't even doing work for my own classes or caseload. Not cool. I was hungry. And my knee hurt.

Today was also the day I went to check my mailbox on my way out from work, not feeling terribly excited about why I chose to work in a place where I consistently get talked back to, sexually assulted, overworked, yelled at, and lied to by those I am working for...

and I got an envelope with a stash of love from this place I call home.

I screamed in the Main Office with joy - because I for a few days now, had completely forgotten about all the other reasons for why I did this. It also just reminded me of my human side - and of where I come from (my peeps), and where I want to be with my students. Needed this, asap. Consider it some serious "suero."

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

Shout outs to:

Miguel Martinez
(el organizador :) &
(Contributing writer to... my life and my soul).

Rod Lopez
(Contributing writer to... my life and my soul).

Dorenyse Diaz
(Contributing writer to... my life and my soul).

Adrian Mercado
(Contributing writer to... my life and my soul).

Bethany Lauren Grigsby
(Contributing writer to... my life and my soul).

Elisabet Medina
(Contributing writer to... my life and my soul).

Tito Gonzalez
(Contributing writer to... my life and my soul).

Michelle Martinez
(Contributing writer to... my life and my soul).

Alyssa Perreras
(Contributing writer to... my life and my soul).

Etna Medina
(Contributing writer to... my life and my soul).

peace be with you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

God is so good.

This is by far the hardest job I have ever had. But this is also the job that has given me the privilege of being involved in the lives of so many people - so many humans, every single day, every single hour. I am terribly exhausted. Physically, and mentally. And I still have work to do.

But they are worth it. They are so worth it.

Otherwise I wouldn't be here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I love them. It's the first time I say that.


For the past few days Marlow has been calling me: "my Baby" and "my Boo." After I told him to only call me by my name, he would whisper it when I would pass. Finally today, after school, we had a great talk. The way he said Ms. Pereda and hugged me somehow makes me think that he won't be using those words toward any other teacher or any of his female friends.

Today Travon, who is CONSISTENTLY getting suspended and who was recently released from Juvi, actually came to class, didn't walk out, made an effort to complete the work, and even stayed after class for me to ask him more questions to make sure he learned the day's objective. You don't understand - this is NOT normal of this student.

Today Marquel, who is notorious for walking the halls, was also in his class and completed ALL his work. He looked for me later in the day, and just came to give me a hug.

I haven't seen Darious in a few days - i'm worried.

Today, the class started with Jamonie walking in with Go-GO music blasting from her cell phone. "No aint no one ganna take my cell phone - so get away from me!" Buggs walked into class with two other students pushing someone up against the wall (of which NONE were supposed to be in there). Tyneesha was NOT in the mood to do any work, and she made sure EVERYBODY knew about that, and Michael just came in and sat on the teacher's desk and started playing with the overhead projector.

Halfway through the class, I looked up standing from the front of the room, it was quiet, all eyes were on me and the board, and they ALL had their pencils working out the problems on the board. I don't know how I had even gotten there - like gotten to be there in that spot, having a lanyard around my neck and wearing business professional clothes with colorful dry-erase markers in my hand, even deserving the attention of these students.

I realized that I have dreamed of that very moment ever since I played teacher with my plush animals when I was in 3rd grade, in my own bedroom in Huntington Park.

Only this was for reals. With much more beautiful and crazy real people, of which over half are physically taller and just bigger than me.

And today was the day that I realized that I am truly actually getting to know my students - like KNOW them.

Today I also finally got a desk into the classroom I teach in.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Today Tyrone was honest with me. I think that was a first: “Yes YOU expect me to read but I don’t expect myself to read ... but I do appreciate your expectation.” And proceeded to complete all of his work.

Today Stephen spelled the word “paid” as “payed.”

Today Marquette actually wrote out an equation in slope-intercept form given the slope and the y-intercept, all by himself. Marquette still didn’t know what 5*2 was. But we used a calculator – and he was still able to graph the lines to the system of equations.

Today Naya asked me how to spell the word “stuff,” “personally,” “even” and “when.”

Today Darius read “Bat” as “bat,” “bash” as “bus,” “85” as “58,” “231” as “123,” and wrote “of” as “fo” two consecutive times, even after the phrase with the correct spelling of the word “of” was right above what he was writing.

Shakeda just didn’t know what the word “profit” was. And neither did India or Roberta.

Today Darius verbalized what I had feared him saying all along: “I just don’t do my work and am never in class because I don’t know how to read – it’s too hard. I know, I’m stupid!” Darius has been suspended numerous times and has accumulated over 45 days of out-of-school suspension. Darius is a father of a 2-year old. He is 15-years old.

Today was also the day he said: “This is the first time I am actually finishing up my classwork! Ms. Pereda, gimme a stamp! C’mon – this is too much. Can I go now? I gatta go. But ok, let me finish this first. No! Don't leave me - i think I got this.”

He finished his classwork assignment and received the highest grade he has received all year - a 92%.