Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Loss & Absence

Jose’s mother passed away last weekend. Outwardly he’s coping well but I know he’s a time-bomb. Jose hasn’t expressed his emotions about the loss of his mother yet, but I can speculate that they include a potent mix of abandonment, anger, relief, anxiety, and a sense of being lost in the world.

My greatest fear is that when Jose does finally release his pent up emotions he’ll do so in an explosion of angry outbursts that will land him in trouble at school or even with the law. The fact that the school year is nearly over compounds my fears. As long as Jose is in school, I know I can work with him and help him through the grieving process. Once he graduates however, (which I expect he will despite his suspensions), I will have less control over how much time I can spend with him.

Adding to my concerns about Jose was a disappointing series of events with Michael following my breakthrough conversation with him ahead of the State Math exams. We met for a tutoring session to help prepare Michael for the exam, but both walked away feeling frustrated. I realized Michael was too far behind in his math skills to pass, and that I was ill-equipped to tutor him. Michael’s low tolerance for feeling frustration did not help matters. I ended up coaching him more on  test-taking techniques than on math. The tutoring session clearly did not help Michael the way I hoped it would. After skipping school the day of the exam, he showed up for the make-up test but left after only ten minutes. He has not been back to school since. The hardest part of this situation is that Michael is not technically part of Partnership with Children’s program. My hope is that he will start coming to school again so I can reach out to him and find out more about what his plans are for the future.

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