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.