One of the good things about spending two years at the same school is the fact that you get to know a lot of the kids well and they get to know you. This fits the bill for one of my Year 13 students. I had her last year for Year 12 and she's a pretty bright kid and is one of my better students in computing. She was always participating in class last year and even got one of the highest marks on the School C (aka National) exams last year.
This year though, things started out a little bit odd because she was missing a lot of days of school – which was kind of unusual for her but I do have students who decide to only come to computer class like once a month, for some strange reason. Anyway, in the initial rush of the opening of the school year I kind of shoved her to the back of my mind and thought that senioritis had set in for her. Then the other day I saw something had changed about her. For the first time I noticed she was wearing bigger clothes then usual – she was a very skinny girl last year and she was a lot more quiet then normal. So being the world's greatest detective my mind went to work on why she would suddenly be wearing bigger and baggier clothes – and there was only one thing that came to mind: she is pregnant.
Now this made me sad for her because she was one of the few students I had that seemed to have the qualities to survive in an American educational system if given the chance – she's bright, inquisitive and learns semi-complex stuff at a decent pace. But apparently over the holiday break, that kind of opportunity was taken away from her because now her life has changed. I was really hoping that I wouldn't see this happen to one of my students – but such is life. Now unlike in first world countries where high school girls can probably go to and complete college once they have kids, the odds of that happening for a girl in Samoa are significantly reduced. I pray that she will be able to go to university and really make something of her life but it shows that outside of the school walls, we really don't know what's going on in these kids lives. Unfortunately, we don't get to many opportunities to talk about life in general in computer class and making good decisions for the long haul. I can open their eyes to the world outside, but sometimes the world around them just sucks them back in. It's a miracle any of us survive high school – no matter where you go in the world.