Mary’s Mixed Bag, the Friday Challenge at Real Toads, is to explore connections.  I’ve spent the last two days in ART~Aggression Replacement Training.  It’s a good training, but it’s what I’ve been doing for many years.  I just didn’t have this exact training to allow my teaching to satisfy the requirement of Juvenile Court Services. Since this was all review, I had a bit of time to reflect on the topic. Basically the idea is that thoughts and feelings and actions are all tangled up together; they’re connected.


Thinking, Feeling, Doing

All intertwined;

My life a jumble

of reactions tangled up

twisting and turning

my stomach churning.

Questioning my worth,

just sitting on my ass

wondering, wishing, hating.

How did this get to be?

My life has to have more;

lashing out in anger

I don’t see the danger

of the connected

Thinking, Feeling, Doing.

Bad Teaching Day

I can’t believe it’s already time to share our Friday Flash 55s with the wonderful G-Man.  It’s a story in exactly 55 words with plot and character.  If you’re up to the challenge, write one and go tell the most gracious host about it.

I’ve been digging deep into my past and recalling those fun-filled days of teaching in a placement setting.  Some days were more challenging than others, and some days were almost impossible.  The name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

“White fuckin’ bitch.”

“You need to sit down, Larissa.”  Obviously, it was going to be a long day.  Sometimes it seemed like it would be easier to simply change her name.

The girl plopped into her seat and glared at her teacher, “What?”

“All I said was good morning.” Hopefully she’d finally get to teach.

Chicago Box

Today at Real Toads, Kerry has shared with us the poetry of Ingrid Jonker, a South African poet.  We were take a personal relationship and turn it into a poem.  For some reason, yesterday I decided to search out some of my former students, from when I was teaching in juvenile detention setting.  I know.  What was I thinking?  It was horrible and depressing and I found way too many by their mugshots.  I’ve chosen to focus on one young man, a student from those first couple of years as a teacher, back when I was going to change the world.


Rescued from a wretched

life on the streets,

fending for yourself

living in a Chicago box

beneath the water tower.

Rescue meant detention,

not much better~

not enough food or beds,

sleeping on the floor.

Watch your back!

Keep those survival skills.

Might not be the street,

but it’s still not safe.

Case comes to court,

Lawyers and judges say

get sent away to detention

disguised as a school.

Chance to to be what you are

a kid dying to have fun~

freedom  for the first time

as you’re sent away from

home on the Chicago streets.

Laughing and learning,

safe to sleep in security;

a student and a kid for

only a short time in between.

Sentence is up;

you played the legal game,

a successful discharge, so

return to where you came from,

back to those Chicago streets

childhood gone again;

drugs and guns and gangs

bang, bang, bang

sitting today in your

Chicago prison box

for the rest of your days.

I cry for the fun loving

and laughing kid I knew,

the man I hoped you’d be,

instead of a kid

sitting forever in a box.


I actually broke down and cried when I found the poem he wrote from prison.  Find it HERE.