There were enough wacky scenes and out-of-control behavior stored in my memory bank to write a memoir. I was use to children getting away with murder and parent's condoning their child's behaviosr that one particular incident stood out for me. I remember having a retention conference with a child that I taught English to. His parents sat silent throughout the whole conference seemingly taking in the fact that their child was failing the seventh grade. The father very solemly turned to me and asked, "Can my boy do the work? I mean-mentally. Can he keep up with others in his class?" I told him that he could, but he was choosing not to. That settled it for the mother. She declared to all assembled that she would not pay for summer schhol. That her child was old enough to start taking responsibility, so if he had to stay back, then he would. She told us all that he would just have to start wearing out his own knees and start praying for himself. Of course a variation of this scene makes its way into the pages of The Manual.
I could feel the parents hopelessness, but depsite what either of them had said, I knew their boy would be okay. He had a support system. There were many more prayers to be uttered for him and more conferences they would attend to make sure he was doing what he was suppose to.
I watched there son also the very next year. I knew he liked to sling a few curse words around, and that he had a girlfriend that he liked to kiss by the lockers outside my classroom. He was mannish. I wondered if he got that from his father or his wanna-be grown up friends. Even came by at the end of his eigth grade year to tell me he was finally getting out of middle school.