Tuesday, March 15, 2016
SLICE #15- Children parenting children
I am supposed to be on hall duty, but the first grade teacher has asked me if I will watch this little guy, until someone, probably his eighth grade brother, comes to get him. She has to take the rest of her class outside for dismissal and C sits immobile, unwilling to move.
It isn't long before I see J coming down the hall. "Dr. Wilcox, do you know where my brother is?" I point to the rug and J comes into the room. We have played this scenario before.
He looks at me helplessly. I wonder how many times a day he wishes that he did not have to take care of his little brother every day after school. I wonder if he thinks about his friends, all headed outside to play basketball behind the school.
J stands over his little brother. "Come on C, let's go. It's time to go home now."
C does not move.
J drops to his knees, throws his backpack to the side, and tries again. "Come on C, let's go home and have snacks."
C still doesn't move. J lowers his head to the rug and tries to make contact with his little brother. He bends close to his little brother. "Hey, what's wrong? Let's go home."
I do not know how to support this man child, so regularly forced into the parental role. I go to my desk and grab a handful of candy from my PD stash. "You've won my big brother of the year award," I say, shoving chocolate into his hand.
"No, Miss, you don't have to. It's ok."
By this time, the first grade teacher has returned. I leave the two of them to deal with C, and head down the hall to do my duty.
About ten minutes later, J comes down the hall with C. C is running ahead, and J, now carrying two backpacks, C's coat, and a soccer ball, is trying to keep up.
I step in front of C to slow him down.
"He's really mad," says J.
"Yeah, I can see," I respond.
C darts around me takes off in a sprint. J follows behind, moving as quickly as he can. I wonder how far they have to go. I wonder how long J will have to wait before his parents come home. I wonder if he will cook dinner, and do homework, and put C to bed before his parents get there.
Somedays teaching in an urban school breaks my heart.