Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sick at Heart

I began teaching in the year 2000, with a class of 17 3rd graders in an inner city school. Most of my students spoke English as a second language. They came from good homes, albeit poor homes. Many of "my" kids had parents that had come as immigrants from Mexico, and while they didn't have many physical goods in their homes, they did have a lot of love and parents who supported education. All of my students that I have taught will always hold a special place in my heart, but especially those students in my first class.

Which is why my stomach dropped like a rock this morning when I opened the front page of the Saturday morning paper. Pictured on the front page was a picture of one "my" boys. The students in my first class are all now 17 and 18, about to enter their senior year of high school in the fall. This student probably won't be joining his classmates, as he was arrested and charged with robbery, murder, and attempted murder. He is a gang member.

When I knew him at 8, he was sweet, loving, and always smiling. He had a lot of trouble learning the language and learning to read English, but he had such determination. He always had a hug for me when he walked in the door. I can still hear him saying "Hola, Miss Micek! How you today?" with a huge grin plastered over his face, his brown eyes dancing.

What in the world happened between now and then? The pull that gangs have over young people in poor areas makes me sick. This boy had such potential, could have done so much. Instead, he will be spending his time in jail. He won't have the chance to share that beautiful smile.

I wish I could go back to his time in my classroom, and protect him somehow. I wish there was more I could have done to cement his path in life. My prayers are with the victims affected by his actions, but I will also be praying for the 8 year old little boy that must surely be locked away somewhere in his heart. I will be praying that even if he is in prison, that he will be able to turn his life in the direction it should have gone.


sectheatre said...

So sad...

John and Teresa said...

How heartbreaking! I can't imagine how that must feel when you feel like some of these students are like your own and to have invested in his life in such a huge way and then to read that :o(

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