His name is Pedro. I met him as a 3 soon-to-be 4 year old entering my classroom in the fall of 2008. Small statured and full in his face, he had a smile from ear to ear. His dark eyes sparkled as he nodded at everything I said and didn’t understand even a tiny bit of it. Eager to please and full of questions, Pedro was so excited to be in school. His parents worked hard to be a part of the school community as well, volunteering to be representatives to the parent council and coming to parent events with Pedro and his younger brother, Salomon, and the baby, Filiberto, perched on a hip.
When Pedro went to kindergarten, Salomon entered my classroom. He is more soft spoken and tender, but with those same sparkly eyes and wide grin. Another baby, Samuel, was born the second year I had Salomon. Four wide faced boys who adore their mom and dad. The whole family calls me “Maestra” like I”m the only one in that profession.
Now I am Filiberto’s teacher. But my other responsibility to the family has come because I provide transportation for Pedro to the eye doctor for glasses. He is a second grader now and very committed to wearing his glasses, hence, they break —- alot.
He has been waiting for a month for his newest pair. Luckily the technician was able to put his old ones together securely enough that Pedro will now have a “back up” pair. It is about a 20 minute drive from school to the office and I love chatting with him about his interests. He struggles in school but his teacher tells me he is always asking questions and is still eager to learn.
Today he told me all about the folk tale he is “adapting. ” I love that he used that word. He hasn’t finished writing it yet and we brainstormed ways he can solve the problem of the story. I’m looking forward to checking in with him tomorrow and finding out how he resolved the ending of his tale.
I know some question why I provide these kinds of services to the families of my students. It’s because I think the current world is rigged – rigged to help those with money, those who can help themselves just by waking up everyday and putting their feet on the floor.
I finished high school, and college, and some extra college – so did my husband – and yet we were of an income low enough to qualify for being a Self-Help Home builder. I can’t imagine how these families make it on less than half of what we had in those days to qualify! We had a special needs child and despite all our degrees, still struggled to figure out all the paperwork to fill out for him to get the supplies he needed. As far as transportation goes, we lucked out because my husband’s mom would insist on buying a new car every three years and occasionally gave us her “old” one.
My husband and I have survived as a family for 35 years because we had extended family who helped us out in little ways and big ways. I wish I could do more for Pedro’s family but I know I’m doing just the right amount for me and for him.