Dare I ask again...
First period is probably my weakest class--with 17 boys, a majority of them country (read redneck), and only 3 girls, the odds were already favoring a slower class (you've read all the studies about girls generally being better students, I'm sure). The time in the morning and the late bus issue just compound the tendencies. Add to this that I'm teaching things for the first time and haven't worked out the kinks in the lesson.
Anyway, I do have some good kids in the class, and even the bad ones have won my sympathy and concern. Two of them have particulalry earned that this past week.
Students generally come in just before or well after the bell and we begin class promplty, so there's not much time for casual chatter before school begins. Occassionally, though, a tired student wanders in a few minutes before the classmates, and I'll ask how things are going.
Last week Mike came in early and sat in his front row seat. Mike was a C student first semester, but failed third quarter and is on his way to doing that again this last quarter. I asked Mike why this had happened, and he answered, "Do you really want to know?" I offered a tentative yes, with some idea of what was to come. My suspicions were confirmed: "Drugs," he replied. "Nothing worse than marijuana, I hope," I hopefully offered; "Nah, and I got caught by my parents last week, too, so I've got to stop." We discussed for a bit the problems with this habit and the bad effect it has had on him. I think he gets it; whether he actually quits remains to be seen. He was suspended today, I'm not sure why.
This morning Elaine arrived early, looking a bit down. I asked how her weekend was, she said it sucked, then I asked why. I was not expecting her reply, which she offered accross the room as she sat down (there was one other boy in the class, sitting two seats down from her, trying to do some homework, I think). "Well, when I got my birth control shot on Friday they didn't know I was pregnant and they killed the baby." Huh. I didn't know what to say. "Well, are you OK?" "Yeah, I'm fine." OK. "I'm really sorry, Elaine, that's really, really terrible." The bell rings, students trickle in, conversation ends.
So pray for these two. They're hurting.