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%.