Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for holding space for us to sharing our writing every day in March.
I find that I am more emboldened in speaking up these days. Could it that retiring in June helps me be more vocal?
One of the things I attempt to convey to students is responsibility. When a student loses a book and isn’t able to pay for it, I try to find a way for them to take responsibility and make it right.
A fourth grader lost a book recently and is annoyed that we won’t check out the third book because of it. Home life is dark and bad and it’s necessary to problem solve without the parents involved. Consequently, this child is guarded, sad, and sullen.
So the other day, I had an opportunity to share that some students let me know they can’t pay and ask what they can do to replace the payment of the book.
The student’s response was, “Well, I guess I’ll just check out two books through fifth grade.” (wow, a fixed mindset, anyone, as opposed to a growth one?). So I told the student to think about it and maybe we could figure it out.
They came back the next day and said they wanted to do something about the book but they didn’t know what they could do.
We agreed upon a poster about book care. Give me a plan and I will give you the materials I said.
Today this student showed up, “I can’t do the poster until you call my dad.” WHAT?
So I told her that this activity didn’t involve Dad and they could do it at school. That with fourth and fifth graders I like to problem solve without the parents as a first step. That this is between the student and me. Problem is they rather work on it at home.
I also shared I noticed how protective they were and that I was trying to look out for them. I also realized that it might make it worse if I didn’t contact the dad. So I will through email.
At that moment, I just wanted to hug this student (who doesn’t allow this by body language). Instead, I said I would be there for them for whatever they needed including a hug.
I wonder if this student will share with their dad what I said to them. I hope my words don’t cause this student harm. And yet, I’m glad I said “I’m looking out for you. and I’m there for you.” I’m glad I acknowledge that home was tough.
Emboldened words advocating for students.