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.

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(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.

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(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.

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(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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