My Ten Things of Thankful (TToT) is brought to you this week by Lizzi, although she doesn’t yet know it. Her current TToT post is SO well-written, funny, and heartrending. I decided to call it “The Perils Of Pink Princess Pauline,” who is in the midst of divorce, job woes, sweet friends, reaching out to homeless friends, and managing to survive brain zaps. Lizzi is a seriously strong and complex woman.
In Lizzi’s spirit of authenticity, my TToT is mixed with heartache. First and foremost, one of my students and I have prematurely ended our summer of tutoring. I’ve mentioned Will before, a kid who had a horrific school year, floundering in math. I had dedicated myself to bringing him to grade level this summer. I put aside nagging uncertainty as Will complained about working 4 days a week. After the first week, Will remarked that “it wasn’t so bad,” so I got the bit between my teeth and went for it. I brushed aside his erratic effort and recall. While his home reward system wasn’t exactly what I’d envisioned, I just focused on how compliant he was. But the past two weeks have been dreadful. It was like teaching a wraith. A sweet, endearing wraith. Finally I looked, listened, and had The Conversation. He expressed extreme anger and frustration for being made to work all summer. He was terribly apologetic and so was I. We both wept. Despite my spouting that summer work is not right for all kids, I had ignored his distress. I am thankful that he ended our Skype conversation with these words and a sweet wave: “Thank you so, so much. Thank you so very much, Mrs. Teachezwell.” He was thankful that I had stopped torturing him! I am thankful for his gracious spirit. And his parents were also both kind and accepting of this abrupt change in trajectory. He now has three weeks to recover from ALL of this. I will probably be working on recovery for a lot longer.
More thankful moments include another major summer commitment. This student had set goals, is eager to accomplish them, and now that we have Google Hangouts running smoothly, is moving at a brisk pace. I wish I could share his sweet face with you, his mischievous smile, and his sparkling eyes. We are using Megawords and a large part of that involves learning new vocabulary. He’s had trouble with the word “vermin,” probably because he hasn’t been in my back yard. I asked him what he thought “vermin” meant and he said, “Isn’t it the plural form of vomit?” I choked back laughter and was thankful I could hide my face for a moment.