Friday, September 25, 2009
In one of my beginning classes is a young man who doesn't quite get with the program. Despite my rapid-fire repeating things like "My name is ________ What's your name?" he doesn't respond as instantly as most kids. And forget about remembering the names of his neighbors, even the kid who sits to his left, his only friend.
I've spoken with him a number of times without success, but a friend of mine, a Spanish teacher, started asking him the right questions. We found he hadn't been to school since fourth grade. Who knows what sort of holes run through this kid's life? When I called his house, the father, with a strong Spanish accent, told me I had the wrong number without even allowing me to speak.
I got a native Spanish-speaking guidance counselor to call, who managed to engage the guy in conversation. But I wonder--what's the point? This is a father who allowed his son to stay out of school for five years. He belongs in jail. I won't tell you what country they're from, but some people are saying this is common in that country. I've had many of his paisanos, I've been doing this over twenty years, and I've never seen a single example before this.
Now we're talking about putting him in a bilingual program. I'm not sure that will help, but the idea of getting him tested for special ed. doesn't get me very excited either. This father placed a hole right down the middle of his son's young life.
Why on earth would anyone do such a thing?