This could be the best Monday morning ever! Not because of the rain and gloom outside, the stack of books I need to read, the conference papers I need to work on, or the mound of laundry staring at me. It’s a great day because a former student of mine who now works in New Orleans public schools just sent me this message:
By the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you about a student of mine. Her name is L. L is one of those students who has the potential to be extremely smart, but somehow gets caught up in being the opposite by constantly being disrespectful and disruptive. I think she needs different attention because of her home situation, but when teachers have 20+ students in a class, they tend to not have time for that.
One day last week, L was acting out in English class, as she did almost every day. The teacher wanted me to take her out because he was frustrated and had no other solution. As a support teacher, I’m able to do that because I don’t have my own class, so I took her out of the room. I told her to take out a book because I wasn’t going to let her sit and do nothing and of course she didn’t have one. Shockingly she said she wanted to read a chapter book (which almost none of the students say) and so I showed her all of the ones I had.
Among the books was A Wish After Midnight, which she chose immediately. I was secretly hoping that she would, but I was also curious if she would reject it because of the higher reading level. (Even though she is about 14 in seventh grade and reads better than most of her peers, she gets frustrated when challenged.)
To my surprise, she read the book for the rest of the period.
Afterwards, she asked me if she could take it home that night to read it. I hesitated because I didn’t want to lose it, but seeing her
enthusiasm, decided to let her borrow it. Every day after that, every time I saw her in class or in the hallway, her nose was buried in that book. Granted, she still didn’t do her schoolwork in class, but instead of singing or talking or banging on the desk or walking around and messing with somebody, she would be reading the book. It seemed to be what she needed.
Unfortunately, L’s bad behaviors built up so much that she was
forced to transfer to a different school (they do that sometimes in
order to avoid expelling a student). I didn’t get a chance to see her again before it happened, but I’m glad to know that she had Wish with her. I hope she is able to finish it and learn something from what you have put in its pages. It really touched me to see her find some kind of peace from reading it. I think Genna is a character that she can relate to. Maybe one day I will be able to ask her about it.