Thursday, November 07, 2002

Reality check. Sometimes I forget I'm teaching students that live in a whole 'nother world than the one I inhabit.

From thirty paces, I checked the two women off in my mind as lesbians. At 25 paces, I thought, "No, not lesbians, just very hard, straight women." At ten paces, I could listen to their conversation. One of the woman was saying to the other, "Jail isn't nothing. Being in jail didn't scare me *at all*. Jail's nothing."

Nursing students? Office adminstration students? I don't know.

I have one student that I really like, but we having nothing in common. I don't know if we could sustain a conversation outside of the school environment. She's got three kids, a boyfriend who can't seem to watch the kids while she's doing her homework, inadequate HUD housing ("critters" run into her house through the 1" gap under the front door, the breeze coming through her poorly insulated window casings can move papers), no education, and she calls me "Sweetie." One by one, the borderline students have been dropping out. The woman who told me the first day of school she just wanted to get an education in case something happened to her husband some day is gone. The kind of Goth girl from the Chicagoland area is gone. Nameless boys in baseball caps? Gone. I desperately want this student that I like to make it.

But what the hell does "make it" mean? What do I want her to have? Better housing, that's a given, but what else? Should she aspire to be like me, an over-educated, middle class, culturally bland, middle-aged, underpaid, depressed, self-indulgent, gender-confused, white girl? I want her to stick with it, but I can't quite decide what I think that's going to get her in the end.

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