When He Didn’t Show

We get to the crux of my lesson, sans a-ha moments and quasi-discovery. A week’s worth of lessons compressed into ten minutes. You’re trying hard to retain it, but you’re farther removed by the minute, a palpable agita festers in the room, elements seemingly out of my control.

While I refuse to share what happens only a few seconds after, I knew what would occur. What people outside of schools sometimes forget is that teachers can only control the 45-90 minutes a day we have with our students. The first activities, routines, and seating arrangements of the class accompanied by our lesson plans and conclusions serve as the bookends to what a class session might look like. Students carry luggage much heavier than their book bags, a set of issues that my pleas and advises can’t solve so readily.

Sitting down with students, we as teachers can even suspend time for them, create a hub that lets them detach themselves from their other worries. Such a hub only exists in the mind, though, a fragile force field interrupted spontaneously.

When I was done, I realized just how much potential you had for excellence. For a minute there, during that suspension, I had the student I thought I would inherit. Now, we all have to suspend these hopes and let disappointment sit where you just did.

Today Dimaggio* was absent.  It was noticeable how much easier getting through all my lessons was.  I even got to take the class outside to read The Martian Chronicles (they agreed to use their “PAT” time for that!).  We started a new math unit optimistically.  We finished talking about poetry.  Science wasn’t too bad.

Tomorrow, Dimaggio is going to have to take his Social Studies test and a lit quiz unprepared.  He’s going to have to make up his math test, science quiz, social studies quiz, and a lit quiz.  He’s going to “not care” even more.

And reading JLV’s blog echoes exactly how I feel about Dimaggio.  It feels like I have so much invested, but in the end, am I just prolonging the inevitable?

*kid loves baseball.


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