I'm working with a great little crew of students this year: Naomi, Rose, Baeli, and Dayne. It feels like a last battle in that I' fighting FOR these kids. They really don't understand the value of what they're getting, what their parents pay me to do, or how to invest in themselves at this point in their lives. How do you teach a young one to 'get it'? AND!!!! it is my last year of doing this kind of work. I'll take up the task of creating and teaching workshops for parents how home-schooling their children and need ideas of how to create projects and make learning REALLY fun!
They are so very dear to me right now, especially as I am grieving the loss of a former student to cancer. He has fought his last battle. He was so dear to me, Tony Barajas was, as was his dear wife, Mariah.
Long ago (in the 90's) I taught in Wasco, Oregon, in Sherman County...a K-8 school with a bit over 100 kids at the time. I love the area which is almost all wheat growing from the north border of the Columbia River, the west border of the Deschutes River, and the east border of the John Day River. I recall watching a small herd of antelope dance away from my car into the short green wheat fields which, when the wind blew, looked like they were dancing themselves. I called them little Wheaties because they seemed alive.
Tony was one in a class of 5th graders I was given as a reward for serving well as the creator/teacher/counselor of a bunch of woolly-bully boys who needed an alternative education. I chose to take the 5th graders home with me in small groups on Friday afternoons to do a project. Tony chose the 'weaving group'. I had a loom at the time, and the small group wove, played hide and seek, played 'slide' in my hand-knitted socks on my hardwood floors before I ordered pizza for them...a non-existent way to eat out in the hinterlands of Wasco.
Good-bye, Tony, may God welcome you with open arms into the halls of heaven.