During my first class, I experienced a flurry of confused thoughts and emotions, which I aggressively put aside for the sake of making it through all the tasks of my day. As soon as I realized the thought would reemerge persistently throughout the day, I decided I would explore the issue through my first post on this here new blog.
There I am. It’s about 8:00 a.m. and I’m teaching math to a small group of students diagnosed with disabilities… or rather should I say, facilitating their ability to complete a puzzle I created. They are much more academically inclined and more motivated than the group I had las semester. I’m thankful for them.
But one young lady from that class and a young lady from my English class prompted questions in my mind.. They are half my age… high school sophomores. The young lady I have during first block has a five month old son at home. The young lady I see during third block has a three year old son at home.
Sometimes I take life personally… even though I’ve spent a life time trying to remember not to. It’s just not fair I’m in my 30’s with no children, but I’m teaching children who are already parents! What can I teach them anyways? I mean do these young ladies seriously need to know how to manipulate the properties of exponents? Is it even right to call them young ladies? After all, they have experienced an adult version of life beyond what I have experienced. Does that make me incapable of being their teacher?
These girls are trying to finish high school in order to set a precedent for their children. Where I’m from, finishing high school was an expectation, not a precedent to be set. Having babies was for after high school… which of course, all of my friends accomplished in the order except for me. In this world – where being a young mom is like the norm – are we really teaching these kids what they need to know? We’re focusing on college prep and ACT scores… but 4 realz??? I have student parents who are trying to get a high school diploma because they believe it will somehow make their child’s life better. Is it really important for these children to learn to multiply and divide exponents with the same base, name the parts of a cell, explain photosynthesis, and analyze the theme behind the book Animal Farm (which I read in fifth grade and then completed a research project on)? Maybe I don’t understand the importance of a high school diploma to parent. Maybe I don’t understand it because of one clear fact.
I don’t have kids. I don’t get invited places – presumably because everybody except myself has kids. “I mean… why would she want to hang out with us?”
I don’t have a husband (or even a boyfriend). Nobody shows up when I invite people somewhere. Sure, most of them say they will, but even with reminders, they never come. Presumably women don’t come because they view me as a threat. “She’s a single female! Which means she’s after my man!! Keep the devil away!” (Seriously? You really think I’m after your husband, who I have never met?!?) Presumably men don’t come because their wife or girlfriend tells them they can’t, “Why do you want to hang out with that slut anyways? Clearly nobody else wants her.”
Ultimately, this flurry of thoughts has turned into a blizzard of disappointment. Disappointment because where I work, the percentage of students who will become parents before they graduate high school is greater than the chance I have at becoming a wife or a mother.