Friday, January 30, 2009


I've blogged before about Johnny and how difficult he can be. His home life leaves a lot to be desired. Johnny, his mother, little sister and aunt live with grandma and grandpa in a trailer. Up here in these parts there aren't many trailer parks around. I'm not really sure how this one came about and maybe at one time it was nice but not anymore. I see a direct correlation between the trailer park and the type of kids that live there. Many, not all, you can pick out of your class on day one before you see the address. Often times they're dressed in run down clothes, the kind that no matter how many times you wash them they will appear dirty. They look pale and tired. They're starved for attention. They require some sort of support at school whether it be speech, counseling or just extra help. Many of them fall under my radar. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that every kid that lives in a trailer park is like that, we've had some that aren't but they're the minority.
I've decided that socioeconomics play a large part in a child's development whether it be how s/he learns, communicates with their peers, their manners or values. When a child isn't treated with respect they treat others the same way. If a child is yelled at constantly, they yell at peers. If they don't receive any love at home they're clingy at school. They just want someone to care, even if they don't realize it. Their parents have been treated this same way growing up. You know that old saying, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree". That's all they know hence they parent their children like that. It's a vicious cycle. At times I feel helpless. I just want to bring the child home with me, give them a loving family and show them how it should be. Of course I can't do that and these kids love their parents. I'll give the parents the benefit of the doubt and say they're doing the best they can but most have low paying jobs for what ever reason. Some just don't know how to be a parent. Again, not every trailer park family is like this.
I've seen kids from average and affluent socioeconomic families treat their children like this. And I'm not saying that lower income people are rude and stupid, you can be dirt poor but still treat others well, have manners etc.
The key in all of this is education. The better your education, the better job you can get, the better living conditions you can have but all that isn't necessarily going to change your values if you were never taught any in the first place.
My point is this; I sometimes get so very frustrated with Johnny when he tells me no or I hate you or is so stubborn and won't do anything you ask. I hate when he pushes me to use what I call my mean mother voice. I know that's what he hears constantly at home. I want him to feel that school is a safe place where he's treated with respect and not nagged constantly. I want to give him what every child wants and deserves, a loving, happy environment. I sincerely care about this child and we do like each other. We do have moments, sometimes an hour or more where we laugh and giggle, work hard and he feels pride in his hard work. Where I know he wants to be with me and feels a connection. Today was not one of those days. We ended up our day in the principals office for throwing pencils across the room. After school my principal sought me out, she knew I was disappointed. I basically told her this last paragraph and that I know he gets ragged on at home so much and I feel like I do it all day in school also. You know when your kids were little or are little and you go in their room at night when they're asleep and you look at them and think I didn't say one positive or kind thing today. It was just "stop that, don't do that, please do that, NO". That's how I feel today with Johnny.
I'll look at my Tinkerbell art and smile even though many of our battles are over Tinkerbell herself. I hope he has a decent weekend.