I often refer to my scary little gangsta kid as “My Little Project”, which sounds thoroughly condescending, and implies that I care little for his wellbeing beyond my academic successes with him. This is entirely untrue. I adore My Little Project very much because he reminds me why I love to work with the kids that I do and he makes me smile! He managed to get to 9th grade without anyone bringing to light his obvious learning disability in the areas of math and reading and maybe his gangsta façade scared them off or maybe he did a great job of hiding his deficits like so many do. Either way, I noticed his My Little Project had problems and quickly took him under my wing, and the rest of my colleagues were fantastic about it.
MLP quickly learned that I was on his side, and I was delighted to see him begin to greet me openly in the hallways before I even got a "hello" and a wave out to him first. In class, if another student misbehaves, he looks at me, rolls his eyes, and we share a moment of calm amid the storm. I have always been curious about his home life, but never asked, preferring to maintain our subdued relationship as it was. I should have guessed I'd learn something about it now that I've requested to have him assessed by the school psychologist.
His father tried to shoot his mother while she was pregnant with him, he didn't succeed. His father then tried to shoot himself, botched the job, and gave himself a permenant speech impediment. MLP's mother tried to get him to open communications with his father again so MLP flew into a rage and threw his own X-Box out the window in protest. I can understand his reservations. People always seem to assume that bonding with family members is really important regardless of how horrific they are. I don't always agree. Family is NOT always best. In my own case, I should have given my father a second chance, but I would have a hard time convincing MLP to do just that.
Sometimes I wish I didn't know so much about my "little" guys.