The Vetting of a Teacher and a Student
My FAVORITE student this year is the one who scares EVERYONE else. He's 3. He's spoken to in 2 languages at home and very stingy with any of it at school. Call his name--no response. In the beginning, most of the time he wouldn't even glance in your direction. The biggest problem with this, outside of not knowing HOW to communicate with him, is that the boy is quick with a tendency to wander. We all spent his 1st day chasing him and returning him to the folk; also difficult because he wasn't big on being touched.
On Day 2, my little friend came to me and grabbed my hand, fascinated by my ring and long nails. He tapped my leg and transformed from mute status with a cheerful "hello." My heart smiled. This child, disengaged from his classmates and minimally focused on his teacher, hand delivered membership to his club. I was in.
My friend's name comes up in colleague conversations daily. He does require support. It could mean language, it could be social, it could be something no one has identified yet. It's clear to me though, through very close observation and my Members Only jacket, that he IS bright and he IS aware. The explorer in him just yells loudly in his ear, making it hard to resist the next adventure or great climb. While he's hawked closely by others, I give him room to breathe. This school business is new to him, and like an infant with its tongue, he's getting to know the many flavors of his new environment.
I wish you could see him. Think older generation Cabbage Patch Kid in the face and newer generation with the corn silk hair. His smile is a flat line and the broad[er] stretch of it is the only telling sign it exists at all. His eyes dance and his feet move swiftly beneath his impeccable but child friendly clothing. If he lets you get close enough, you can hear him mumble praise to himself. And if you're really lucky, he'll lace you with a 2-sentence conversation before he zips off. Today I qualified for a hug. He offered, I didn't ask.
Thoughts of his flat, cherubic face make me laugh. The way he keeps us all on our toes makes me laugh louder. He's our school enigma and I find I understand him better than the other teachers and students I come in contact with. I look forward to the last day of school and being able to reminisce on his school year and see the ways he will surely have developed. It's exciting. I get to...
Watch him move.