It was the last day of school in June and as a fifth and sixth-grade teacher, I was looking forward to the summer holidays. I’d nearly finished getting my classroom all tidy and I was ready to go home.
However, one ten-year-old student sat at his desk and fiddled with a lump of clay. I said to him, “School’s over. It’s time for you to go home.”
He replied, “I want to stay here.”
“You can’t,” I said. “I want to start my summer vacation.” Hoping he’d get up and leave, I continued tidying my desk.
He said, “I didn’t like you at the beginning of this year.”
I looked at him. His honest appraisal didn’t shock me. That’s one thing I’ve always liked about children. They don’t mince words. They tell it like it is.
I thought about the year before when the classes were being assigned and I’d seen the boy’s name on my list. I’d told the assistant principal that I didn’t want that child in my room. I really didn’t like him.
Her reply was an unsympathetic, “You’ll be good for him.”
“I don’t see how when he doesn’t like me,” I said.
However, despite my protests the boy was put in my classroom and what do you know? I got to like this boy very much.
I wasn’t sure who changed over the year, but when we got to know each other I discovered there was something very special about him. I couldn’t define what it was. All I know is that after all the years when that child sat in his desk and revealed his true thoughts to me in very blunt terms; I still remember him.
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