I exhale as I come to this page on Saturdays to celebrate with Ruth Ayers. Ruth has cultivated a place to tend and account for the week’s treasures. A time to set aside the burdens and clear off a space to admire. Thank you, Ruth.
Every morning as I round the corner to my classroom, I have a group of students waiting. If I’m a little late, they ask why. If I’m there before they are they question why. They want to help. They want to talk. They want to be in a warm classroom. This starts my day. Everyday.
And it continues throughout the day. At recess, at lunch, after school, officially and unofficially children come to get help, borrow a ball, call their parent, get a Bandaid, “help.” These kiddos are always filling the space and filling me with their ideas and questions.This week I celebrate the students who come because they want to and because they need to.
One morning Adam* walked in and sat down at my desk, looked me in the eye and asked, what can I do to get tested today? Not a typical kid question. He wants to take his running record. No problem, I tell him. He was due for one. So as soon as class started. We sat down.
Adam is not on grade level yet. Literature isn’t his cup of tea. He prefers reading nonfiction. Right now he’s obsessed with area 51. He also has a written plan to become president in 2048. He is inquisitive and hilarious. But as he informs me, he just isn’t interested in reading fiction. I told him I understood. But, I added, if he plans to become president, he had better start reading a little more literature. We read “those” kind of books to understand people. Then I shared these quotes from a recent New York Times interview with President Obama.
Fiction was useful as a reminder of the truths under the surface of what we argue about every day and was a way of seeing and hearing the voices, the multitudes of this country.
…I think that I found myself better able to imagine what’s going on in the lives of people throughout my presidency because of the act of reading fiction. It exercises those muscles, and I think that has been helpful.
His eyes widened.
He’s still pouring over nonfiction facts, but I hope Obama’s words planted a tiny seed.
This week I celebrate Adam, his drive to succeed, and figure out area 51.