Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 24 2011

Still a kid

This boy in my homeroom is famously hard to handle. He has screamed threats at teachers, thrown things at teachers, cussed at teachers. His mom passed away a few years ago, his dad hasn’t been the best, and he relied heavily on his grandmother until she passed away in December. He’s had a tough life and my heart aches for this kid.

On Friday, he showed up in my classroom during my prep period. I tried to send him to class, but he told me that first he had something he wanted to show me. He dug around in his pockets for a few seconds, while I imagined him pulling out all sorts of dangerous or inappropriate items. Instead, he pulls out a little toy excavator truck (like this). He tells me he used to have a smaller one, but this one is bigger and he likes it better. He starts rotating the arm of the truck up and down and rolling it on the desk, making a little vrooom noise under his breath. He’s not being eighth-grade-ironic… he is genuinely delighted with this toy and proud to show me what it can do. He’s acting like any little boy with a toy car, which is a side of him I’ve never seen before. Where there’s usually an angry semi-adult challenging his teachers all day, there’s suddenly the kid in him peeking out. It’s adorable and I want to hug him and let that kid play with his truck forever.

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