Sunday, April 20, 2008

I gave him a pen.

Somewhere in this city, there is a 4th grader walking around with a broken heart...because of me. While normally this would be the sort of thing I'd thrive on, I actually feel a bit guilty. I know, I know...that's not me. But alas.

This kid is someone I worked with daily at the start of my job. An active child, he cannot sit for more than 30 seconds, give or take. His brain is running a million miles an hour. He's kind of a nightmare, but he makes me laugh. He initially loathed our time together, since my arrival to his classroom heralded 30 minutes of quiet work time either at the back table or in my room. And this child does not DO quiet work time. As time wore on, he would be looking toward the door at 2:40, waiting for me. He'd shout that I was late. He would jump up and get his stuff together when I arrived. So while he still denied it all, I know he enjoyed our time. He grew to love me. After a while, I began working at the after-school homework club. And my little friend was in my group, so we were seeing each other twice daily! A joy. Things were humming along nicely.

But things began deteriorating. I began working with a new student in his class. We saw each other less and less. We still had homework club, though. Until one fateful day when disaster struck. A reorganization. He was moved to a different group, while I took on a new troop of students.

Lloyd did not take it well. I was left feeling like I'd broken up with him, while he was just not ready for it. He was confused; he didn't understand why I'd abandoned him. And with no warning! I call him Lloyd because at that moment, he became my own personal Lloyd Dobler. He began shouting at me in the hallway. "TAKE ME BACK!" He was hiss it at me when I entered his classroom. "Take me back!" One day in the cafeteria, tending to my new homework flock, I heard my name in a stage whisper. I turned around and saw Lloyd looking my way. He motioned frantically, asking in whispers if he could come to my table. I began to wonder if I would open my office door and find him standing there, boombox overhead playing me Peter Gabriel songs. My little John Cusack was hurting.

He would ask if I could take him back, and one day, in a last-ditch effort to get him to sit the hell down and do some work, I said I would look into switching him into my group.

Well. That was a while back, and I am paying for it now. Last week we had some one-on-one time in my room, working on a comparison essay. But then...on Monday, he dropped the big guilt bomb. I pulled him to the back table to work.

"Are we going to your room today??"

"Nope, we're working here today."
"But didn't we get a lot of work done on Friday?"
"Yes, we did. But today we're staying here."
"Oh. When are you taking me into your group?"
"I can't." (I finally told him the truth.)
"But you promised!!"
"No, Lloyd, I never promised. I said maybe."
*Eyes big, with a serious face.* "You let me believe this whole time that you would take me back."

Oh my god. How can you not feel bad about that? You let me believe this whole time that you would take me back. Ouch. That stings.

I just hope he'll be ok. I'm sure he'll get over it. He's a tough kid.


Bob Hague said...

Because of this experience Lloyd is going to slowly develop a universal distrust for females. All of his future relationships with those of the fairer sex will be strained by his almost subconscious memory of betrayal. As he gets older he will begin to realize that all of his relations with women end badly, and he will become bitter. He will become so bitter that he will start blogging about it, perhaps at, if that domain is still available.

OK, not really.
I like this post. You aren't as tough and bitter as you pretend to be...

Amanda said...

Hey, don't say things like that around here.

I would be endlessly proud of It is, after all, an educator's dream to have an influence on a child. Maybe I'll save the domain name now and let him have it when he graduates from high school.