School starts next week some time. It will be the first time in ten years that I haven't gone. I keep telling myself that I will not miss it. I think I have myself convinced. Last year was not a banner year at the school for me, and I sincerely felt that it was time for me to go. The discipline got to me, the lack of interest from parents got to me, the apathy of the administration got to me. I was treated with a disrespect by the students, such as I had never experienced in years before. What was wrong? I felt that it is an economic thing. Times are hard in our community. Jobs are scarce, and money is tight. As it is is all over, but my community is repressed like so many small towns now days. Parents are laid off from jobs, and this has a tumble down effect on their children. Kids don't understand not being able to have stuff or go places. Mom and Dad are just trying to hang on. It makes everyone in a family tense. This also carries over into the school room. Administration told us at the beginning of last school year that what goes on at home should have no effect on what goes on at school. This is bull hockey. Admin needs to come in a talk to the kids. They need to sit in a classroom where kids just don't give a rip, because they have too much baggage from home.
Another thing, parents need to wise up. I would bet that I know more about their middle- schoolers than they do. I know who is seeing who behind their parent's back. I know who is sexually active, and I know who is letting their "love interest" beat the s**t out of them. I know who is drinking, and who is using dope. I also know who is being molested by Mom's boyfriend, and sleeps hidden behind the couch in hopes that he can't find her in his drug induced drunken stupor!
I know who doesn't get enough to eat, who doesn't get enough rest at night, and who doesn't have clean clothes or facilities to bathe regularly. I see kids come to school in the same clothes day after day, because Mom or Dad don't give a damn about how they look, feel or smell.
Knowing all of this and being faced with it every day just got to be too much. When I first started at the school, I would come home at night and cry. Then, I would come home mad. I finally knew that I alone could not change the mind set of the administration, or the parents or the community, and I tried to steel myself against what I could see was happening. But it finally just got to me. I had to call it quits.
Retirement is good! I can relax and enjoy myself. But in the back of my mind, I still worry about those children who are not being treated fairly or like we think they should be. I will always worry about them. Maybe, I can do something in my retirement to make the people who need to know aware of what is happening to out youth of today. My prayer is that in some brighter tomorrow, there will be an answer!