I have wonderful children and they teach me as much as I teach them, most of the time. Sometimes more. It’s been hectic this week, I’ve been Mr. Mom and Mr. Dad. B’s out of town helping her sister and I have been the only sheriff in town, so to speak. B’s on her way back tonight and we’ll be whole again tomorrow.

Dulles Jr. High Vikings - seventh grade gold - can you find me?
Dulles Jr. High Vikings – seventh grade gold – can you find me?

This afternoon, we were running errands and on our way home. O was talking about her day at school. I don’t know how it came up, but she was explaining what happened in math class. It went something like this……

“Dad, do you give your kids homework passes?” O asked.

“No, I don’t.” I replied. “Why do you ask?

“Well, I was in math today and there is this kid, he’s really been trying lately and he didn’t have his homework today, so I gave him one of mine.” O explained. “I mean, he’s struggled all year with his homework, but I’ve noticed he’s been trying harder and all lately.”

“Hmmmm.” I sounded.

“Yeah, and the teacher he said to the kid, ‘I don’t remember giving you one of these.’ The kid sort of sat there silent, and I told the teacher, ‘I gave him one of mine.’” O explained.

“Yes, that’s great.” I said, thinking about a time when I was that kid sitting there in math class with no homework and looking for a way out. “What else happened?” I asked.

“Well, the teacher took the homework pass and didn’t give it back to me and told the whole class that homework passes aren’t transferable. He said he told us on the first day of school. Doesn’t he know we aren’t paying attention on the first day. We’re looking around and seeing who’s in our class and all sorts of stuff, but were not paying attention to stuff like that.”

“That’s okay, honey bunny, you did the right thing.” I told her. Thinking of how I wish I had had some like O in my math class when I was a seventh graders – 41 years ago.

“And, honey bunny – you don’t need the pass. It was the right thing to do. You impress me.” I told her.

When we got home, I asked her to sit down with me on the couch and told her I wanted to tell her a story. I grabbed my iPad and pulled up a post I wrote years ago about a time when I was that kid in her math class. I read the post to her and then kissed her head and told her I loved her. Then we looked at my seventh grade football team photo and she tried to find me….. and we laughed. I gave her a big hug.

My kids teach me all the time. Sometimes I end up learning more in the process.

Here is the post I read to her – Seven Days down and Seventh Grade! I remember reading it to my seventh grade ELA class that fall in 2011. I got an e-mail from the assistant principal a day later – classroom concern was the header. It came with a sit down meeting. I think it made me human, made me a real person, but she had other ideas. It’s water under the bridge. She didn’t get it. It’s about the kids and learning. making a difference.

It’s been a crazy week at school and at home. O’s story drove home what I most enjoy about teaching kids, it’s that sometimes I end up learning more than them, and in turn growing as a person.

The day is almost over and tomorrow will be here in a few scant hours. It’ll be Friday, the Friday before a long three-day weekend for me, and an even longer four-day weekend for my students – I have parent teacher conferences on Tuesday and the students are not in session. I can only imagine the energy level my students will have tomorrow. So, I had better jump up, jump in, and seize what remains of the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one lesson taught, one lesson learned, moving forward, always.

What have your kids taught you?

13 thoughts on “reminders

  1. This is why we wipe their noses and bottoms and tote them to kindergarten. For moments like these. My girls taught me just today that just because they shot me down when I asked them about school, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk to me. I just need a different hook. Message received, loud and clear.

  2. Glad to catch up with you again! Hope your year is progressing well. What a terrific story–yes, admin. just doesn’t get it sometimes. Have you ever read CS Lewis’ intro to Screwtape Letters about his description of “Admin.”?? Just sayin’. So glad you forgave.

    1. I never had a homework pass either, I have used them in the previous years, but not the past couple of years. When I call her ‘honey bunny’, she calls me ‘daddy-waddie.’ It’s a fair trade. Thanks. I listened as she retold the story to her momma a couple of nights later. I smiled and listened. O is gonna be okay, W is, too. Have a wonderful week.

  3. My kids have taught me how to be a better person, how to be a parent, and how to love fully.
    your teaching style is outside the box, and clearly that makes some people nervous, I say keep jumping outside the box -for that is where the real learning is. Your students are lucky to have you.

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