Adventures in Room 347

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 05 2012

Bracing Myself

Every day, I hear a new waterworks-worthy story. Today, I taught a Liberian refugee basic phonics, because she can’t read. She’s very bright and picks things up quickly, but you simply can’t do science if you don’t know how to read and write. To make matters worse, she’s being shuffled in and out of foster care because her primary caretaker–her grandmother–passed away a couple of weeks ago. She’s currently staying with her boyfriend/boyfriend’s grandmother, but social services wants to put her with her aunt. That made sense to me, until she said that her aunt “lays hands on her” and “uses a whip.” I wonder if there comes a point when I stop being appalled and taken aback at the daily atrocities that are other people’s real life experiences. I’m calling the guidance counselor an awful lot. What else can I do but provide a space for her to learn how to read, knowing someone cares about her and wants her to succeed?


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The classroom is a jungle, and my scholars are explorers. We dream big and work hard!

Rhode Island
High School

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