One step forward, seventeen steps back.

So right now I am…..I don’t know what I am right now. Hurt? Bewildered? Angry? Insulted? All? More? I don’t know.

I was supposed to meet with the Charmer today for our second official mentoring meeting. We’d had something scheduled for last week but he canceled because he was out of town. And that was the way he put it – when I was confirming with him and he said he couldn’t do it, he said, “Only because I’m not home this week.” So we rescheduled for this week.

When I got to his apartment, he, his mom, his sister and a friend of his were all in the living room. I said hi to them, and he said hi, then got up and walked out. And that was the last I saw him. He refused to come meet with me. He refused to even speak to me. His mom went to talk to him twice; the second time she came back and said he was literally bawling in his room but that he still wouldn’t come out.

His mom said that he kept saying that I’m a teacher and I tell other teachers stuff, and that it just seemed like he really didn’t trust me. She said she’d thought this would be good because he was getting in trouble but that he was upset about this at a level that she didn’t understand. She said she’d have to talk to him more about this because she didn’t know what was going on. She said he was worried I was going to hate him. She said she’d have him call me to talk to me at some point.

I have no idea what happened.

Last time he and I talked, he seemed to enjoy the conversation. I was the one who finally said I had to go, and maybe I’d overstayed my welcome and he hadn’t known how to tell me, but he seemed surprised that I was leaving. We’d talked about a whole bunch of things, from how he needs to watch what he says to the war in Iraq, and I thought it was fine. Good, even.

Today, sobbing in his room, refusing to speak to me. What?

When I got home, I called his mom to give her some more information that I’d thought of as I drove – the mandated reporter stuff. Because to me, wailing that I’m a teacher and I tell other teachers stuff seems like it might connect to that. And that maybe there’s something going on with him that’s dangerous enough that I’d have to report it.

His mom said she hadn’t thought of that, and that he spends a lot of time with girls so maybe there’s something sexual with him; I said that was a possibility, but that I was more concerned that he might be getting involved in some sort of violence. I didn’t explicitly use the word “gang” but that’s what I tried to imply. Hoping mom could infer what I meant.

Because….it worries me. It worries me with a lot of my kids. And I was hoping that the Charmer was smart enough to avoid it, but maybe he’s not. The friend he was hanging out with in his living room? Had lines shaved in his eyebrows. That’s a gang identifier; around my school, it’s normally for MS-13 and they shave one line in one and three in the other. I only saw one stripe in each but he left pretty quickly and I didn’t get a good look at the right side.

His mom said she’d talk to him more and she appreciated the additional information. I said I would appreciate a phone call from him at some point. She said of course.

I doubt it’ll ever happen.

I doubt I’ll ever see him again.

Maybe that’s for the best.

(This dog's face nicely expresses how I feel right now. Photo credit to C.C.Photo86.)


"I'm a dreamer but I ain't the only one Got problems but we love to have fun" -K'naan, "Dreamer"

I teach eighth grade Language Arts at an urban school. My kids kick ass and will change the world. I want everyone to know.
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