Current/Recent Reading List

03 January 2008

One of My Puppy Dog Kids

Today, after school, a student who has frustrated me all semester dropped by to make up a couple of tests. Now, she is not a bad kid, but she is of the sort who make me want to pull my remaining hair out from time to time: always expressing how she hates to read and how the books we read are boring, demonstrating little in the way of curiosity or imagination, often angling for ways to quietly communicate with her friends instead of listening to class discussions or readings, too immature and whiny for her age, and generally giving off the whiff (only metaphorically, thankfully) of being a bit of a party girl.

But... she's also one of those kids who, no matter how much I fuss at her, or (sadly) try to ignore her, seems to always want to hang around, or tell me stories at the most inappropriate times in class, or stop by the doorway (distracting me from tasks with another class) while on a bathroom break during another period of the day. She is the proverbial lost puppy dog that takes up with you; you mostly want her to leave you alone, though a bit of you, begrudgingly, is glad she hangs around.

Well, this afternoon, after we discussed why her grade isn't so great, she started telling me all these things about her and her family - when and why her parents split up, why her workaholic dad has been mad at her for a couple of months now and won't relent, how he started trying to buy her off with money after the divorce, her step-mom who has fake hair/nose/boobs, the car accident that almost killed her and her sister last year (hit by a drunk driver) - it was a regular litany of problems. But she also talked about how close she and her mom were, how her step-dad has been one of the best things that ever happened to any of them, and how her step-brother is her best friend. All in all, she doesn't seem bitter, but just wounded. Wounded, but not so inclined to let it drag her down forever, from what I can tell.

She also admitted she doesn't give her best in school, and that she thinks she will have to go the community college route before a university will accept her. I pointed out she still has 2 1/2 more years left before then, and that it would be best to get rid of the laziness now. She and her mom have been talking about this, and apparently have made a deal of some sort to address it.

So, here was a student I didn't think I ever got through to about much of anything, and after today I would say that that is probably not true. She may not ever get over her loathing for reading, which is sad and frustrating, but maybe with maturity she will. If nothing else, she seems to have found me a positive force in her life this semester, and that is worth gold. Plus, I'm thankful, because I certainly learned something from her today.

On second thought, she can hang around whenever she wants.

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