Chad is a kid who frequently disengages from school. He’s failing two classes. In September, we met with his dad, who shared how much Chad used to care about school. He won the spelling bee in fifth grade. “I just want you to be a happy boy and enjoy school again,” his father said.
Now, I have won him over with Nebraska football commentary (he was born in Lincoln when his dad was in school). At some point in his back-to-back fifteen minute detentions for tardies, he decided to open up and laugh with me. He still has late assignments; he still has detention once in a while, but sometimes, he is with me.
One of the options for student writing in the last couple weeks was a This I Believe essay. Chad is in my room after school to finish his essay (never mind that I made him because it was late). When he declares it complete, I look over his shoulder at a heartfelt, detailed, well-worded essay—about the virtues of Cornhusker football. He is trying to print two copies but the printer won’t work. I tell him he can email me my copy, but I know they weren’t both intended for me.
“Would you like me to print you a copy from my computer?” I ask.
Chad grins. “I want to show it to my dad.”