Friday, March 23, 2007


Yesterday I forgot my lunch and had to go to the Burger King across the street to get some food.

I ran into one of my students.

It was Othell, one of my Seniors. He was walking home and didn't seem to be embarrassed by seeing me, didn't look like he was caught in the act of leaving school early. He said "Hi" to me and I put my arm through his and pushed him back toward the school. "Othell, what are you doing!" I scolded him. "Man, you don't know. They don't understand my situation. I gotta leave early."

Othell is a second year senior. He was supposed to graduate last year, but didn't have enough credits to walk across the stage. He is more mature than most of the kids in a lot of ways, but still struggles with doing well in his classes. "Why do you need to leave?" I asked "What's your situation?". "I gotta go home and watch my child, my baby mama is about to leave for work."

Turns out Othell has a two-year old. I didn't know that. He has been leaving school every other day and skipping his last 4 classes. "We been trying to find a babysitter," he said "but we can't find one. My son, he's real bad" Sometimes his girlfriend's mother watches the baby, but sometimes she can't.

I asked Othell why he didn't bring the baby to the school day care. "Because" he said "if I have to take him home after school then I won't make it to work on time" "Where do you work?" I asked. "Hobo's" he said, and showed me his name tag. I didn't ask what Hobo's was, but it looked like a little fast food joint. "Plus, my baby mama don't want to take him to her school daycare because she always gets into it with the other girls up in there and she don't want him in that mess" "She fights with the other girls?" I asked. "Yeah" he said.

We were standing on the street corner this whole time, in between Burger King and the school. Me with my teacher's clothes on and him with his uniform shirt in his hand and his Hobo's nametag. He didn't have to stand there and talk to me and I didn't have to stand there and talk to him. But we were there. We were trying to figure this out. Othell knows that he if keeps this up he won't graduate on time. The school year is almost over and he already has some F's from first semester.

We figured out that if his boss let's him start work at 4pm instead of 3:15pm and if his girlfriend will allow him to take his son to the daycare here at the school then he can make it. He can leave here, drop off his kid and make it to work on time. I was excited we figured out a solution. Othell says that his boss is real cool so hopefully that will work out. He didn't know about his baby's mother though. "She crazy sometimes" He said. I waited to hear about what happened today during Homeroom, but he didn't show up.

I hope he comes tomorrow.


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