Today was a little better. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it was better. This past weekend I spent time with two good friends, Ruth and Mary, who teach second and fifth grades respectively, and came home feeling like maybe there was hope. I have new ideas and somehow more confidence that this seventh grade thing will eventually come together.
Today when Salvador said something that probably wasn’t school appropriate (I think he did, but couldn’t actually hear the words) I just calmly told him that there is a difference between school language and home language, and that I want him to use school words here at school. Then I went on to the lesson. I think maybe I told him school language sounds smarter, which began a short discussion about being smart. He said that it isn’t really cool to be smart, which I refuted. He then said he isn’t very smart, which I also refuted. I told him that I’ve noticed he is quite smart and thoughtful. It was interesting to note what sorts of insights he offered today, after that conversation. They were quite smart and thoughtful.
As for Sergius, the guy who practically knocks people over getting to lunch, I asked him if food sometimes runs out at his house of 14 children. He admitted that sometimes it does. The good stuff like sweets runs out, he said. I looked at him very directly and told him that the school will not run out of food. He will definitely get lunch. I may have to repeat it a few (many?) times, and I hope we never do run out of food, so that he can slow down and learn some dignity in going to lunch.
Day by day, little by little we will get there. Today I have hope. And I am thankful for my friends who are able to give it to me.