Slice 9

She barely ever reads the chapters she’s supposed to on time. She’s clever. She knows enough about how school works to know how much needs to be done to maximize social time during a pandemic school year. 

I only got her this fall but she somehow came in a seasoned veteran. From jump she was polite, spoke up from her Brady Bunch square often when it was time to share, and often highlighted our mutual love of sports and the fact that I coached for the same team her brother currently plays on. 

She’s 100% lazy. For real. With zero worry about consequences. She knows, for all intents and purposes, that she is a “good” kid. And she’s right. She completes some school work sometimes, usually with very little thought or effort put into it. She takes the tests that grades hinge on and earns enough points to keep red flags half masted for her potential.

“Buddy, did you hear him?”

She’s a larger framed, athletic girl who plays softball travel teams and football with the boys at recess. Her voice is almost cartoon princess soft and lilts in awareness of it. 

“Can I help you, buddy? You need to make sure you don’t forget anything. Do you have your writing? Your gloves?”

The boy at his table socially distanced next to her needs help with almost everything he does and the SpEd team isn’t there for every second of the day. She helps him like this from bell to bell. I didn’t ask her to. She doesn’t twirl for recognition, either. It’s just what she does. 

Most of them have a pearl like this, hidden, regardless of how well they do computer school. I get on her from time to time for lack of effort. That’s my job – pushing her to be her best. But day in and day out when I see the effort she puts into the boy she becomes the school mom for everyday I think, really, how much better does she need to be? 

What do we prioritize when we judge the worth of a child? As teachers (with bosses), I know what the answer is. Teaching 5th grade I also know that this is when we begin expecting higher leveled thinking from them. Sometimes, just maybe, we should place those same expectations on ourselves.

7 thoughts on “Standards-Based

  1. This is such a heartwarming slice. I love the part when the reader discovers the area where she is not lazy and that it is with helping the other students. What a special student she is. Thank you for sharing!


  2. As the mom of a girl very much like the one you have described, thank you. Sometimes there are far more important things than jumping through the hoop to earn the points. It sounds like she’s there.


  3. What a sweetheart! Wholeheartedly believe that we should place the same expectations on ourselves. I’ve been working on this for the past few weeks and it makes a difference. Plan, write, edit, revise a paper in 45 minutes.?!


  4. This is my kid. And as the mom of a kid like this one…THANK YOU. Thank you for seeing this child as a full human. Thank you for seeing her beyond the expectations she chooses to fulfill, or not. Thank you for noticing that she has strengths and talents beyond the ones called for in a scope and sequence.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This line.
    “What do we prioritize when we judge the worth of a child? As teachers (with bosses), I know what the answer is.”

    I don’t have one so I can say whatever I like without a certain disapproving face in my mind, which is one reason why I really like the use of “bosses” over “principal/admin” here. And I don’t think I need to elaborate the why on that reason any further for you… also your observational wording, so good!


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