I had a new student start today in my fifth hour. This is the last class of the day and it can get a little loud and crazy. Of course, my phone was ringing off the hook and four students needed something as I was trying to get my new student set up. I have to keep constantly moving in this class so we can stay on track and get accomplished. It wasn’t until the end of class I had a chance to talk more with my new student.
I gave him the syllabus and told him a little about the class. A number of students who had finished the assignment for the day had started ready their SSR books (which I love to see!). I explained to our new student that we do SSR a number of days a week and he would need a book. If he already had a book, he could bring it, or he could feel free to borrow one of mine. I asked him if he liked reading. I could tell he wanted to say no but he dodged the question. I told him that it was ok; I have heard it before before. He finally admitted, “Not really.” I said I hoped having a choice in what he read would help and asked what he liked to read about. He told me realistic drama. I grabbed Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper and told him to look over that one. If he wasn’t interested, I could look for some other titles as well. He said that interested him, so I asked him if he wanted to check it out. He looked so surprised when he asked, “You mean I can take it home?” I was very happy to respond with a resounding yes! I let him know he could borrow it for as long as he needed. He seemed very excited and quickly filled out the notecard with a smile.
As students were dismissed for the day, I told him I hoped he enjoyed it and to make sure he brought it with him to class. He thanked me again. I was just floored once again to see how books and talking about books can connect me with students so quickly. I love putting a book in a student’s hand and the look on his or her face when that connection to the book happens. I really feel I have opened up communication with this new student and hope he feels comfortable in and a part of our class now. I know my words are not giving the moment justice but this is the type of moment that reminds me why I teach.