I could sense it in the air of the classroom this morning–WR was not going to show up today. WR struggled through both the diagnostic and pre-test assessments, getting less than 25% of the questions right. Yesterday, he finished his test very early, probably because he couldn’t understand what he was asked to do. Seeing him sitting dejectedly at his desk, I decided to give him a sheet of paper and ask him to “write about your life”. He began writing.
Last night, with his paper in my hand, I learned that WR was 17 years old–a good number of years beyond what a 9th grader should be–and that one of his sisters had been hospitalized. I learned more about WR from those simple sentences scribbled on a sheet of lined paper than I could have from seeing him sitting, not moving his mouth.
Given that providing positive encouragement is one of our roles as teachers, I wrote him a thank you letter to place in his folder this morning. I thanked him for sharing his thoughts with me and also told him that he had just created an example of non-fiction text (what we are studying this summer): he was an autobiographer!
But he never walked through our classroom door this morning. I just hope that he just slept through his alarm this morning. I hope he comes back.