Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Out to Lunch

Jack is quickly establishing himself in my heart as one of my favorite students this year. I know we're not supposed to play favorites, and I also know we're kidding ourselves if we don't admit that there are some students we just like better than others. Jack is one of those this year. He's adorable--a word I don't often apply to thirteen-year-old boys, but he is--kind, funny, and helpful. But he's also struggling with school quite a bit. He's perhaps not a great student. The other day, I got a hint of why he might not be doing well in his other classes (not that he's rocking the world in mine, but he's passing, at least).

I was reminding the class about a homework assignment I'd assigned a few days previous. It's due tomorrow (I'm writing this on Monday afternoon). The assignment involves revising a series of short writing pieces they've already done and producing a final product.

Jack raised his hand. "What writing pieces, Miss Eyre?"

"These," I said, indicating the chart on which each assignment for each writing piece had been posted over the past three or four weeks. "You've been doing these in class for the past few weeks."

"When?" he asked.

Jack has an odd sense of humor, as you've seen here before, and I seriously thought he was having a little fun with me. "When we have reading time," I say. "I've asked you to answer these questions and write about them. You remember, right? Look through the chart. You should be able to find them in your notebook."

Jack flipped through the chart, then flipped through the notebook. "I don't have them," he said. "When did you assign them?"

At this point, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. "Jack," I said, as nicely and patiently as possible, "once a week for the past three or four weeks, we've done one of these pieces. I'll stop your reading and I'll say, 'Okay, finish up your reading and answer this question in your notebook. Take ten minutes to think and write as much as you can.' You seriously don't remember this at all?"

His face fell. I worried for a moment that he might cry. "No," he said, quite gravely.

I sighed. "All right, Jack," I said. "Here, sit with Minnie. She has a good notebook. You can copy them from her."

He duly scooted next to Minnie and started copying the questions. I walked away to work with some other students, but I had to wonder about Jack. How do you miss the same assignment not once, not twice, not three times, but four times? How do you not wonder about a chart on which things are posted that you have no recollection or record of? I really don't know, but this incident told me I better check in with Jack more often. He might be sweet, but he's at least a little bit out to lunch.
blog comments powered by Disqus