This story comes from Jessica Garrett:
It’s two o’clock in the afternoon. I am tired and stressed out from the events of the day. I’m not sure if it’s the full moon—but the kids have been wild this week. I. Am. Tired.
The book we have this week is very difficult for the group I’m working with—but they are working hard. I have tried all week to get one child to infer the lesson that the story teaches. This is a hard concept for my group, but slowly, one by one, they are starting to get it.
Still, one child has no clue. He struggles simply to read the passage let alone infer there is a hidden meaning in it. I am working mainly with him today. He looks so disappointed with himself. He knows that he doesn’t know the right answer and he doesn’t know how to get to that point. He looks…defeated. I feel so sorry for him. He tries so hard.
I tell him, “Let’s forget the questions for today,” and he looks at me very surprised and replies, “I have to get this or my teacher will be disappointed in me.”
I tell him that I will talk to her and she will not be disappointed in him. So, we reread the story while I ask him questions, trying to help him pick out the lesson. He acts afraid to answer—like he knows that his answer will be wrong.
I say “There were no wrong answers and that we were just discussing the story.” I tell him my own thoughts and I ask him about his. We talk about the book for most of our class time. I’m trying to build him up. I’m trying to make him more confident in his answers. He struggles with self confidence.
We get to the part of the story where the characters solve a problem together (the lesson of the story is about teamwork and helping others), and he says, “This is kind of like what we are doing together. You are working with me and we are using teamwork.” Then he smiles. He smiles a huge smile and he bounces in his seat. He says, “I get it! I get it! The lesson is teamwork! We are supposed to work together to help our friends!”
He starts telling everyone in our group, “Hey guys, I get the lesson!” They are all so happy for him. Everybody in our group claps. I tell him that I’m so proud of him because he did it all on his own. He then surprises me: he starts to cry. I hug him and say, “No, don’t cry! We are so proud of you!”
“I know…and nobody has ever told me they were proud of me before.”
I have to hold my breath for a second or two to keep from crying with him. I hug him tighter and tell him that I am super proud of him and he should be proud of himself too.