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a good feeling

The kids I volunteer with were supposed to turn in a final paper today, but they were in MANY different stages of that process, including one kid who hadn't started at all. I was working mainly with others, but shortly before the end of class, I came over to him:

"Do you have a topic?"

"Yeah: basketball."

"So, do you want to just write a little something about basketball? Just so you have something to turn in? [Teacher] said she'll take anything you have."

"Miss, there are only six minutes left of class."

"Okay, so that's a challenge. What can you write in six minutes?"

I opened a Word document and typed, I have just six minutes to tell you about basketball.

"You take it from there," I told him.

He wrote, Basketball is an interesting sport and great entertainment.

"So tell me a little more about why it's interesting. As a sport, it's competing against football, baseball, soccer. As entertainment, it's competing against movies and things. What makes it special?"

He laughed. "It's the way they move on the court that gets people jazzed," he said.

"Great! Put that down. Just like that." He typed it in.

"We have two minutes," he pointed out.

"Okay, so if someone wanted to know more about basketball, where would they go? Like, where can I learn more about basketball?"

He typed, If you want to know more about basketball, you can go to www.nba.com, or watch games on ESPN. Then he looked at me with a sort of amazed expression on his face and said, "I never thought about that, about telling people how they could learn more about it."

"Yeah," I said, "That's what research is all about. And thanks to you, now I know something new. I'm writing that down in my notebook, 'www.nba.com'--I'm going to go there.** Now put your name on this and let's print it out."

He did, and we did. I felt SO GRATIFIED, and grateful. And he had something to turn in to the teacher.

**I have the website open in another window. It's got a database of players, various news stories, and video. Also, you can shop for gear there.


( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
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Dec. 20th, 2016 09:35 pm (UTC)
That's a great lesson!
Dec. 20th, 2016 09:51 pm (UTC)
It was great!
Dec. 20th, 2016 09:43 pm (UTC)
Awesome! And he just learned the basics of writing a paper--and how it's not totally impossible.
Dec. 20th, 2016 09:51 pm (UTC)
Yeah: and that he has something to teach others. And that even a tiny bit of work is better than nothing. AAAAAHHH MY HEART IS SO FULL.
Dec. 20th, 2016 09:54 pm (UTC)
Nicely done! The educator in me LOVES how you approached that! My heart grew three sizes in this entry :)
Dec. 20th, 2016 09:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Mine did too, from his reaction. ♥ ♥ ♥
Dec. 20th, 2016 11:34 pm (UTC)
<3 <3 <3
Dec. 21st, 2016 02:02 pm (UTC)
It was so encouraging!
Dec. 20th, 2016 11:54 pm (UTC)

(for me, this is especially a vivid and memorable encouragement to use every minute -- which you really did!)
Dec. 21st, 2016 02:05 pm (UTC)
I'm really touched by the kids' willingness to give something a try, most times, even in really limited (or maybe because it's limited?) situations. In this case, knowing that the teacher would take ANYTHING, and knowing that having even a sentence or two was going to mean credit of some sort, made it worthwhile.
Dec. 20th, 2016 11:59 pm (UTC)
This story brightens my day. You rock!
Dec. 21st, 2016 02:08 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! I'm embarrassed, a little, because of course I'm telling a story that shows me in a good light, but it was his unconcealed surprise at what he'd realized--it just was so rewarding. And that's *him*, his generosity, or naturalness, or whatever quality it was--a combination, I guess. And his willingness to take a risk and give something a try.
Dec. 21st, 2016 12:30 am (UTC)
That's great! It's amazing how much can get accomplished in just a few minutes. (And it sounds like he at least knows how to pick a good topic already: he had lots to say about it once you helped him get started.)
Dec. 21st, 2016 02:32 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I can say that he had lots to say, but I think he definitely *might* have had lots to say.

The thing I'm thinking as I reply to comments is, it was great to get him enthusiastic for those six minutes, but will there be a chance and a way to keep him feeling enthusiastic? And then, will there be a place for the enthusiasm to go? I really, really hope that I can help make those things possible, too.
Dec. 21st, 2016 12:51 am (UTC)
That was awesome. Way to go!
Dec. 21st, 2016 02:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks--it was a great class ^_^
Dec. 21st, 2016 01:14 am (UTC)
You are a wonderful teacher.
Dec. 21st, 2016 02:35 pm (UTC)
You're a generous friend. I'm *so happy* to be given this chance to experience teaching in a limited way. It's kind of like being a grandmother--you get to interact with the grandkids, but in the end the parent has the day-to-day raising of them. It's easier to be a volunteer than an actual teacher, no two ways about it.

It does make me think about doing more, though. And you know YOU are one of my main inspirations.
Dec. 21st, 2016 05:20 am (UTC)
You are splendiferous!
Dec. 21st, 2016 02:37 pm (UTC)
Aww, well, not really. Or maybe a truer thing to say would be that my sense of it is that the world is full of splendiferous people--like YOU, o creator of art, stories, and edible delicacies!
Dec. 21st, 2016 06:31 am (UTC)
That's a great story to hear - thank you for sharing!

I've got a rule when I'm writing that I have to write something each day, even if it's just a sentence. And of course, whenever I write that sentence, I always get an idea for something more. (The only problem is when that turns out to be a new idea that replaces that sentence, and initiates an endless loop of replacement.)
Dec. 21st, 2016 02:55 pm (UTC)
I like your rule. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but I think it works for me, too. Right now I'm only writing once a week, but at least it's something, and I'm doing it faithfully.
(no subject) - khiemtran - Dec. 21st, 2016 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 21st, 2016 06:54 am (UTC)
This makes me so happy. You are indeed a wonderful teacher.

Dec. 21st, 2016 03:28 pm (UTC)
Glad to share the joy around! I don't think I can quite be called a good teacher, though--a good volunteer, maybe.
Dec. 21st, 2016 09:53 am (UTC)
That's marvellous! :) :) :) (Thanks for spreading the joy!)
Dec. 21st, 2016 03:29 pm (UTC)
My pleasure ♥
Dec. 21st, 2016 03:24 pm (UTC)
Good for you on helping that student see new ways of sharing his interests and getting other folks interested in finding out for themselves what other people have fun doing!
Dec. 21st, 2016 03:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It was a fun hour ^_^
Dec. 21st, 2016 05:12 pm (UTC)
This is one of the sweetest school stories I've ever seen. And "what can you write in six minutes?" just may be my new mantra.
Dec. 21st, 2016 06:51 pm (UTC)
Yaay! The world needs more school stories that are happy.
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