Thursday, January 14, 2016

Just Another Day at Work

Sometimes I wonder if I am really cut out for this job. I doubt my abilities, my effectiveness, my stamina. And then I have a morning like this one and I remember that I am right where I belong.

Years of writing has taught me to make mental note of things I will want to remember later and more or less memorize conversations as they happen. Then I rehearse them in my mind, again and again, until I get the chance to write them down. It is my lunch period now, so I can write. This is how I remember my conversation with this particular student, a quiet eleventh grade girl who sits in the back and has never spoken in my class unless directly called upon to do so.


(yesterday, after 6th period)

Mrs. Chidwick?

Yes, ma’am. How can I help you?

Ummm…I was wondering if you are going to be here after school today.

Yes, I am here most days until 5:00. Is there something that you need?

Yeah. Ok, I will come by after school.

Sounds good. See you then.


(yesterday, after school)

Hi, Mrs. Chidwick.

Oh, hello! What can I do for you?

Ummm…I was wondering—what time do you get here in the morning?

I arrive at 7:00.

Ok. Can I come in and talk to you tomorrow before school? My bus gets here at around 7:15.

Sure you can. I will be here.

Ok. It’s kind of personal.

No problem. You can always come talk to me. I will see you in the morning, then.


(this morning, 7:15 AM)

Good morning, Mrs. Chidwick.

Good morning. Have a seat. What’s going on?

Well, I know that you are a new teacher here. And I know that you and I haven’t really gotten to know each other much, but…

Go on…

Well, it’s just…the way you teach us in class…I can tell you are a hard-working woman, and I respect that. To be honest, I am not doing very well in school, and I want to do better. I don’t really get any encouragement at home to do well at school, so…

So you need someone to kick your butt a little?

Haha, yes. That’s what I am wondering is if you would help me do better and encourage me to get good grades. I just don’t really have anyone else who cares and it seems like—even though we don’t really know each other—I can tell you are a hard-working woman, and it seems like…

Yes, I would love to encourage you and kick your butt a little. How would you like me to help you?

Can I do my homework in your classroom after school?

Absolutely. I am here almost every day. Today I have a meeting…

That’s ok. I have to see one of my other teachers today anyway.

Great. You can also come eat your lunch in my room, if that would help.

Really? Yeah, I could do that sometimes.

I want you to succeed.

I can tell, the way you are always talking to us. Thank you, Mrs. Chidwick.

Thank you for coming in and talking to me. I would love to get to know you better, and I want you to do well in life. This makes me happy.

Me, too. Thanks, Mrs. Chidwick. Have a nice day.

You, too.


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