#SOL22 5/31

It was only the beginning of second period, but all of us were already over this day. Before classes had even started, a few teachers had received an email threatening a school shooting. The actual threat level seemed low, but just in case, the police had been called, the doors locked, a “shelter in place” instituted. Then, the internet went out. And it was Friday. We wondered if the universe was laughing at us: “Good luck at school today,” it snickered.

The grade 12 students were unimpressed. Someone had flicked off the lights as they entered the room – “Hope that’s ok, Miss” – and most people were slumped, exhausted, onto the tables. So much for any lessons I had planned. On the other hand, thanks to the power of routine, almost everyone had a book out.

“I have an idea. You read, I’ll plan something that makes some sort of sense.”

“I can set my watch for 15 minutes,” one student volunteered.

“Miss, can it be 20? Please? I mean, the internet is down and…”

I looked around the room. Heads were nodding. “20 it is,” I declared.

They read; I planned. Then I read, too. 20 minutes passed. C’s watch beeped. An impassioned “NO!” slipped out of a student as she turned a page. “I’m so close to the end of the chapter!”

“Me, too!” “Yes!” “Please, just a few more minutes…”

Of course I said yes. And we all read just a little bit more. And our Friday was just a little bit better. Not perfect, but better.

12 thoughts on “#SOL22 5/31

  1. It’s wonderful when they ask for more time. You know they are finding the right books and falling in book love ❤️. I think your phrase, “the power of routine” is an important one. When we give up early on a practice which supports student learning because we think we see evidence of disengagement, we don’t give it the time to develop. When we are doing the right thing, they find it in the routine.

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  2. Thank you for sharing this. I LOVE it when they pull their books out and start reading even before class! You found all the positives in a day that was not trending that way.

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  3. Don’t you love moments like this? Heads down, noses in a book. No one wants to stop reading. On such days, who am I to say, “no” to readers’ requests. I think your Friday sounds pretty perfect. The universe was conspiring for books.

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  4. The dystopias that populate so much fiction in recent years have nothing on “shelter in place” without the internet. Fortunately, seeking solace in books never goes out of style, so: well played by your students and you.

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  5. On behalf of those kids, I’m so grateful for you. Grateful that you read their emotional state from the get-go. Grateful that you knew to veer away from “business as usual” when the moment called for. Grateful that you have a relationship that’s honest and open enough that your kids can express what they really want to say. Grateful that you gave them time – and more time! – to unfurl for a bit between pages of books.

    Beautiful.

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  6. Goodness, an email like that must be scary! So glad that things went from worse to better. I’m always surprised to hear the internet goes out in a country other than India …. but so good that the outcome was fruitful reading enjoyed by all!

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  7. How often do they read at home? Probably not much with so many novelties competing for their time. Bravo on your decision to let them escape their books, especially when the world around them was offering a possibility that was not too nice. Your room sounds like a sanctuary and your teaching very wise. Thank you for lifting our vocation through your sage discretion:)

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  8. I love that your students wanted this, needed this quiet time with the lights off just to read. Too often I let these moments slip by with the intent of “keeping to the schedule”, but this is exactly what your students needed, and I am inspired to listen next time my students beg me to just color or read. I was listening to someone on NPR talk about the power of books, and how just the act of reading a physical book connects us to so many people before, other people in the past who have read books in the exact way. I love the simplicity of that. I’m glad Friday worked out after all.

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  9. Hooray for your inspiring post for day 5! Also, hooray for growing readers and making space for them to read. We often hear how kids rarely get to read for pleasure or have choice once they leave elementary school. This makes me happy.

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