Thursday, March 29, 2012

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Natasha

Well, Natasha (surely you remember Natasha, right?) has moved away. Maybe. We're not really sure.

Natasha (and her mother) have been talking about moving out of state for most of this school year. Those of us who teach certain populations know what this is about. Kids are forever claiming they're moving down South/to Puerto Rico/to France/to the moon/whatever, and more often than not they tell this story until they're tired of the attention and move on. But once in a great while, some kid actually does move wherever they're threatening to move to. (Not to make light, of course, of true and perhaps more common stories about transient kids in the NYC schools: bouncing from one relative's house or shelter to another, which are, I hope goes without saying, very sad stories.)

Anyway. So it appears that Natasha might have meant it this time, this after disappearing for a few days earlier in the school year and coming back claiming to have already moved. She hasn't shown up to school in about three weeks and all of the phone numbers we had for her (and, as you can imagine if you've followed the Saga of Natasha, we had quite a few) are dead. This without so much as a goodbye, or, more pragmatically, any kind of a formal discharge process. She's still on our roster as of today.

When I was growing up (yes, children, back in the Ice Age), moving out of state would have been a big deal, or at least some paperwork would have been done. I can't help but think that if I were making a long-premeditated move to another state, I would notify my child's school in some kind of official capacity, maybe get her records transferred. Maybe I'd have wanted to speak to the teacher who's been calling my house for two years trying to cajole my daughter into coming to school and passing her classes. And maybe this comes across as petty and insensitive, given the challenges some of our kids' families are up against, and I'll grant that, but still, it irks and maybe hurts me a little on some level.

So goodbye, Natasha, I guess. I'll miss you threatening students on my behalf and carefully explaining the circumstances under which you would or would not allow your friends to sleep on your couch. Could you maybe, please, call your old school when you have a minute and tell us exactly where you are?
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