He’ll get a lot of 1’s on his report card next week. 1’s for “Does Not Meet Expectations.”
He began the year as he ended the last. Quietly. He managed his daily transitions from our classroom to the Learning Lab to weekly Speech Language sessions. He shut down when things got too tough. Retreated. Quiet.
At morning meetings, he rarely added his thoughts to class discussions, needing encouragement even to say “Pass” when his turn came around. Limited eye contact. He struggled in the classroom with math, and often refused to look at the Ed. Tech there to help him. He rarely engaged in the work. Sometimes he couldn’t sit still. Sometimes he sat and stared at his desk.
Somewhere along the way, maybe late in November, things started to change.
He’s flowered. An odd word choice perhaps to describe a 10 year old boy, but it’s so apt. He’s simply opened up to the world. Now he laughs more, interacts more. His language has bloomed. Perhaps that was the key.
He’s reading at home most nights now. Remembers to check in with me in the mornings about what he’s read. Has a couple of favorite authors. A favorite series. Still, he’s reading levels below the benchmark.
In Math, his confidence has blossomed. He raises his hand frequently to participate. Sometimes he’ll try to explain and finally say, “I can’t explain it,” but most of the time he’s finding the words to share his ideas, his strategies. He’s demonstrating far more understanding. He’s participating almost every day.
Now, I have to remind him to stop chatting. To stop class clowning. I had to move his chair up to the front row to split up his new and active social dynamic.
A teacher and I talk about this and laugh, “Be careful what you wish for!” we say. But we smile. Broadly.
Still, he’s getting a lot of 1s on his report card, even though he’s exceeded oh so many expectations.