Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Apr 25 2012

It’s A Birdy

I have a student who somehow managed to be in sixth grade while two years older than everyone else and completely hardened against any sort of behavior consequence. He does the most ridiculous things you can imagine, and nothing we do to him will even get him to blink. He’s tough and he’s angry, and he’s doing his best to convince everyone that there’s nothing we can do about it.


Today I was sitting with him at lunch, and noticed he wouldn’t stop fidgeting with a piece of paper. I helped him cut it into a square, and then started walking through origami steps. I was guiding him through making a paper crane, but I didn’t tell him what he was doing, and he was dutifully following without questioning the point. On the last step, he pulled down the outer flaps and realized that they were wings.


You should have seen his eyes light up. This big tough kid held the crane to eye level in the palm of his hand and looked at in amazement. In this adorable little-kid voice, without a touch of sarcasm in his word choice, he gasped, “It’s a birdy!”


We made it a collar and attached it to his desk so that it would protect him without flying away during class.


I do not joke.





5 Responses

  1. Morgan

    This got me. Sometimes it makes things easier in our minds if we say this person or that person just can’t be reached. It lets us, as individuals and as a society, off the hook. It’s our job (as those who imagine a different world) to hold hope that everyone can be reached.

  2. els

    it’s good to remember that even our “toughest” kids are just babies at heart.

  3. Lorena

    brought a tear to my eye.

  4. meghank

    Teach them how to make a waterbomb! That’s easier, and they can throw them at each other like water balloons in the summer.

  5. mches

    fyi, i went and looked how to make a paper crane after reading this

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