Thursday, November 5, 2009

it's not important

As my before-school reading program started last week I was working hard to send as many notes and reminders home as possible so my struggling readers would be motivated to set their alarms for an hour earlier and get themselves to school. I'd see the children in the halls and give them high-fives "yes! see you tomorrow! Can't WAIT!" with way more enthusiasm than I actually had for getting to school early myself. And since their parents are the ones in charge of making sure they actually walk in our doors early I sent home note after note to their parents.

One little boy came and found me on Tuesday morning, ready to read.

"I'm so sorry!" I had to tell him and watch his crestfallen face back away from me, "It doesn't start until tomorrow. Wednesdays and Thursdays."

The next morning he didn't show up.

Once I'd dismissed everyone to their regular classrooms I went searching for him, wondering what had happened. I ran into his little sister instead.

"Where was your brother this morning?" I teased her. "He needs to come see me early!"

She shook her head slowly, "My mom said it wasn't important."

My mom said it wasn't important.

You might as well have slapped me across the face.

Reading. Isn't. Important.

I plotted ways I could badger the parents into thinking otherwise. Call home (but I don't speak Spanish) Pick him up myself? Buy him his own alarm clock?

I didn't do anything about it on Wednesday so when Thursday morning rolled around I was shocked to see him stroll confidently into the room- one of the first students there. He read with so much enthusiasm he excited the others.

And yesterday- he was waiting in the school's lobby much earlier than I expected him (or wanted him- I was still getting materials together). He came in with a huge smile, pulled out the book we'd read the day before and proudly told me he'd read it over and over and over and over again to anyone who would listen. "Can I have another one?" he asked.

Despite being told it's not important he's getting to school early, ready and eager to do extra work. I love the students I teach. Love them.


Kirsten said...

Yeah!!!!!! He thinks it's important, and he is modeling that to his parents. You could send a note home, in "our Spanish" if you want, saying how well he is doing in the before-school meetings.

Jennifer said...

Yay! Go him!

Heather said...

I love this story!
Thanks for sharing.

P.S. I just discovered your blog and have really enjoyed reading it.
I am an elementary ed student with a minor in reading instruction at CWU.
I love your enthusiasm for reading in this post. Love it!!

Angela Watson said...

I wonder if mom really said that, or meant it in that context. On multiple occasions, kids have said things like that to me, and it was a misunderstanding (like in this scenario, maybe the kid said "I have to be at school at 6 am!" and mom said "Okay, no you don't, 7 am is fine, it's not that important" or the kid asked for his own alarm clock and mom said "it's not important, I'll wake you up"). Especially since you've got some Spanish to English translation issues. Know what I mean?

I can definitely recall some situations in which kids told their parents *I* had something appalling, and had to set the story straight because the kids were confused.

I've learned to take everything kids say about their parents and give them the benefit of the doubt, and hope their parents extend the same courtesy to me.

Cute story, nonetheless. ;-)