Stories from an Unconventional Childhood, Week Ten

Over at Mommy’s Piggy Tales there’s a cool project going on about family history. There is a challenge to blog for 15 weeks about our growing up years, with a different time period covered each week. Spitfire talked me into joining in because she’s hoping for some wild stories from my childhood.

The beginning of my eighth grade year, I was feeling fine. I was living in the same house and going to the same school. School started as usual, but with a few interesting twists. My favorite teacher from the year before moved up with me and taught the subject I had struggled with the most the year before.

The other thing that happened had me dancing a happy dance. Two weeks into school, someone came to my PE class. They were looking for volunteers to help with the PE classes at the primary school. Apparently, due to budget cuts, they had lost all their teacher’s aides. They decided to use students instead. When they explained the details, my hand was the first one up. During my PE class, I would get to walk down to the primary school next door and help out with the K-1 class during that period. That would count as my PE class as well. I would get to play with the little kids and get my credit. Woo Hoo! They were looking for two people and one of my friends nabbed the other spot. When I thought it couldn’t get any better, I found out my mom’s class was in the PE class. I was awesome!

I soon found out the one down side to the job. It was dealing with heartbreaking situations you couldn’t control. One little girl in the class wasn’t allowed to play with neighborhood children so she cried every day because she thought she would get in trouble for playing with her classmates. I found out that during recess each day, she went off and sat by herself so she wouldn’t be in trouble. It took a few months to convince her that it was alright to join in the games and activities.

The other thing I had to deal with broke my heart and made me mad all at the same time. One little girl showed up almost every day with a new set of bruises and bandages. She always had some explanation for how they got there, but it wasn’t very convincing. Then one day, I hugged her shoulders and she winced in pain. I questioned her and she finally pulled her shirt aside enough to reveal what looked like cigarette burns. I was horrified and angry. The little girl looked almost apologetic. I knelt down and told her this was not her fault. She told me that sometimes she couldn’t help being bad. I wanted to hit someone and it wasn’t her.

I reported this to the PE teacher who nodded her head sadly. She said that she and a couple of the other teachers had reported it several times to no avail. When I told her the little girl thought it was her fault her parents hurt her, I saw her eyes flash and her jaw clench. She asked if I could watch the class for a bit while she made a phone call.

The next day, she wasn’t in school, and I have to tell you that I feared the worst. Another day went by and she still didn’t show up. I fretted about her all weekend. But on Monday, she came in all smiles and clean and dressed up cute. She told me that some people came and got her and sent her to live with her grandmother who was very nice. I was so happy I thought I would burst. She was safe, the other little girl was coming out of her shell and my mom’s students came in every class and gave me big hugs and told me what they were learning.

Imagine my distress when I learned we were moving over Christmas vacation. My mom would still be teaching there, but we would be living in a different district so I would have to change schools. Again. Sigh.

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