April 8, 2011 at 10:47 pm (Education, Kids, Student Teaching) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

So at an unnamed school at an unnamed time I was working with some unnamed students.

There’s one that cries. A lot. At first I felt bad. Then I realized this kid would cry if you gave them candy and they’d cry just the same if you kicked them out of the classroom. There’s your background.

So we’re working on reading basic words, being able to decode the graphemes and recognize the phonemes, putting them together as words. I have a fat stack of word flashcards and I go from student to student working with them on sight word identification and decoding. Every time I got to this student, I could not for the life of me hear a sound they said (and I swear, it’s not just because I’m turning 30! ). So I smiled, leaned in and said, “I can’t hear you. I know you’re saying sounds, because I see your mouth moving, but I can’t hear a thing. So can you talk louder for me, please?”

And then it happened. The student’s eyes filled over immediately and tears spilled onto the table.

I just looked at the student, shook my head and said, “No. There are no tears here. It is time to stop now. No crying at the reading table.” I think I may have even used the term “pull yourself together” with this poor kid. But then something happened that surprised me.

Quick as a flash, the student wiped the tears off the table and rubbed them out of their eyes. Looking at me very calmly and seriously, the student began a serious clarification: “Oh, I wasn’t crying; those were allergies.” There was no sign in the student’s very serious face that this was a cover up. I’m not going to blow it for them.

What else could I do? I nodded, leaned forward, patted the student’s arm and said understandingly, “You know what? I have ‘allergies’ too sometimes.”

To be perfectly fair, I don’t think the student knew that in my mind allergies had quotations around them. It was a sweet moment.

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