Monday, February 26, 2007

Falling through the cracks

Being a substitute teacher for Special Needs kids has been very enlightening for me.
I see/hear alot. Many children are poor and neglected - I can see the sadness and frustration in their eyes.
Last week I worked with one of my favorite Special Ed classes. They have a new student and well, I was floored when their teacher told me HER story.
This African- American girl, I'll call her Tammy, is almost 9, but she should be in third grade. More on this in a bit.
She moved here to San Diego with her mom, dad, brother and grandmother after losing everything (including family) after Katrina.
Two months ago her mom died of heart disease.
Last month she was placed in the class I was subbing for - which is a mix of 4th, 5th and 6th mild to moderate special needs students.
I am unsure as to why she was placed in the special ed class - but I think it may be that she just refuses to work and has an incredibly negative/contradictory attitude.
Anyway, she SHOULD be with the 1st - 3rd graders, but she was PROMOTED a grade based on her appearance. She is more developed than girls her age (but I think it's just because she is overweight).
Being a poor, low-income black child from Louisiana,well, you can bet that has had a substandard education. Her father is not very well educated, and he grieving for his wife, so he is not in a position to support her and be the advocate he needs to be.
So here she is, a "slow" learner, promoted a grade and then dumped in a special needs class. The girl is not learning disabled, she's DEPRESSED. She needs COUNSELING and a tutor.
Her present teacher (who I subbed for) fought with the administration until she was blue in the face about getting Tammy the help she needs - and placing her back with mainstream students where she belongs.
The principal WROTE THE TEACHER UP for being in the principal's face!

I cannot stop thinking about Tammy. I am going to try to contact her dad through Tammy's teacher and see if I can help her out. Anjoli (my daughter who will turn 9 next week) could help tutor her - that would make it more fun for Tammy. I think it's really important for Anjoli to see how unfortunate some kids are...and how we cannot turn our back on children in need.

Wish me luck.


Anne-Marie said...

Sue, what you are doing is incredible- you are saving a little life. I commend you for that.

Good luck with Tammy! She is finally getting a streak of good luck for having met you, after all those hardships.

Suesjoy said...

Why thank you AM.
I just hope I am able to help...

You never know - there may be privacy issues...maybe.
We'll see.

ginab said...

I'm thinking Tammy is better in the mainstream of students. There too she will discover her losses to Katrina or Rita are not her own (other students in the main slip stream are in her shoes). If you recall her facing challenges learning or keeping up, by all means connect. You're a saint.


PS: not sure what happened with the blog invite. My browser (neither of them) wanted to let me view the log in prompt and today your site seems to be off the permission slate. We'll see!

lryicsgrl said...

What the world needs now, is more people like you!

Keep your sunnyside up, Swhosie girl, you will need it. Life is not fair, and it can be depressing, when that fact slaps you in the face,(especially where a child is concerned).

Love and luck to you, my dear friend...I'm rooting for you!!!!

Cathy with a C said...

I hope you can make a difference, Sue. That's all we can try and do. I try and find ways for my children to help out in the community as well. If Anjoli and Tammy connect, it sounds like it might be a great experience for both of them.

In many ways, I think Katrina was worse for the US than the World Trade Center. With Katrina, we failed ourselves and came up very short even to this day.

Best to you and Anjoli

Cathy xo

Anonymous said...

Good for you!

seriously, the CA school system makes me want to bang my head against a wall.

I think your idea is brillant. Anjoli is a smart kid and sometimes being tutored by someone your own age is less intimidating. Heck I a semester tutoring a girl one a week in French, and we had the best time.


blue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blue said...

Hi Sue!

You are doing wonderful job to needy kids.
I'm so proud of you.

Sorry for long time no post...
I am getting back to blogworld little by little.
Maybe I'll begin post comments in my blogpost soon.

Much love and respect

Tomoko xx

P.S. Please say Hello to Anjoli for me.

Suesjoy said...

Thank you Gina. A saint I am NOT though! Ah well, maybe Tammy can help me atone for my past transgressions.
Yes - she should be in a mainstream class - at the appropriate level.

I know Sue- I do try to be positive. It's hard though. I just hope Anju and I can help Tammy out. Ta for the love babe.

Thanks Cathy- oh DO NOT GET ME STAHTED with Katrina. Yeah we can spend BILLIONS annihalating innocent people (include our own), but we turn our backs on our citizens.
Bush promised to rebuild New Orleans...yeah right.
What a disaster (times two).
Good that you help out in your community...I don't do that enough...we can always do more.

Well I was thinking Tammy would be more receptive to my help if I involved Anjoli. Tammy and I DID get along though - so that's good!

TOMOKO!! So nice to see you!!
I do hope you blog again.
Too bad the Who cancelled their Japan dates (didn't they?).
I was so ready to jump on a plane and go see them with you!
Hopefully they will reschedule...
Hope you are well. Thanks for your kind words.
You are a sweetie.
Take care.

pictures of lily said...

Sue your awesome makes me love you more..
We have a lot in common.
I'm in the process of a special needs awareness campaign.. well, kinda.. but with some spice.