Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sugar Cane - Missy Higgins
Baby ballerina's hiding somewhere in the corner, where the shadow wraps around her
and our torches cannot find her, she will stay there 'til the morning,
crawl behind us as we are yawning, and she will leave our games to never be the same.
So grow tall sugar cane.
Eat the soil, drink that rain.
But know they'll chase you if you play their little games.
So run, run fast sugar cane.

It's her song. My student who reads on a 1st grade level and writes on a kindergarten level. She's in 3rd grade, supposed to be in 4th. Not shocking, really - if you consider that I teach special ed in NYC. (Although the fact that that's the standard is so incredibly sad.)
But the fact is that we are a great school. We work hard. Her parents are involved. We have professional development that most teachers only dream of. Our management is super tight.
And yet...when she speaks it sounds like 4 sentences smashed into one - her writing is much of the same.
She shakes her head when you ask her a question, almost as if she's a slot machine and someday she'll hit the jackpot, spitting out a perfect, insightful answer that will get her the praise she so desparately seeks.
She works harder than most students I know. 1 of 10 children, she's a caregiver, nurturer, and leader.
But will she go to college? Will she graduate college? Today her dad, in a look of defeat I seldom see, told me he knew what it was going to be like for her. She would get held back and get held back until she eventually just quit.
Somewhere, in the midst of the college pennants and cheers and an extended school day and intervention groups, this little girl is drowning and I don't know how.

2 comments:

Ginny said...

This child has a real poetic talent. I hope she can find a way to follow it. AG

TessaTeacher said...

How apt you would use such powerful lyrics. Missy is a fantastic Australian Artist, deservedly worthy of praise.

And so is this little girl. I have had students like her, I have students like her, we need to talk about this....

Stay shining your candlelight - even when you are drowning.
Love Tessa xxoo