This afternoon/evening, Abuela and I sat out on the step with Sarah, her neices, her mom and her big sister and had a big chat. Sarah has started at Orozco but she is having a lot of anxiety about it. The orientation went ok, but on the first day of school she got so nervous she threw up. The second day it happened again. Today her mom let her stay home and called me for advice. They're going to try to send her tomorrow but maybe she will just talk with someone and not go to class. On Monday her mom intends to speak with her teacher.
I asked Sarah to tell me about her experience. She said the building is very big and unfamiliar and they didn;t really walk around it during orientation. She made some friends during orientation and two of them are in her class, but they sit pretty far away from her. I gather on the first day the bus was late--it's supposed to pick her up from Chavez at 7:45 but it didn't arrive until 8:20, so she was late to class. Perhaps that was also a factor. She said she got nervous when the teacher gave homework, although when she got home and tried it she found it was pretty easy. She clearly misses her friends and teachers at Chavez andwants to go back there.
The problem is, as Tom Wolfe said, you can't go home again. Her mom tells me Mr. Correa has left Chavez and things are very disorganized now. She's also heard the stories about drugs and gang recruitment in the upper grade center (Sarah wouldn't be there yet, but soon) and she won't have her daughter go there. This sounds like a fairly titanic struggle of wills between mother and daughter. Sarah, like her mom, is a pretty determined person, but it's not in her long-term best interest to go back to Chavez. How to help her understand that, I'm not too sure.
If anyone has tips on dealing with school phobia, new school anxiety, etc., we are all ears here on Marshfield Avenue. Thanks!