Today was an interesting day. See, teachers get a "planning" period that they use to plan their lessons, grade and do a variety of other tasks. Since I have first period planning, I sometimes end up in the role of babysitter. Sometimes another teacher is running late or a substitute gets lost. I never say no, so the office always calls me to watch a class until the teacher or substitute arrives.
I was called this morning to watch a class for the computer teacher so that he could go fix another teacher's computer. When I walked in, I was met with the smiling faces of several of my kids from last year. Usually, when I walk into watch a class, students think I'm a sub and treat me like a sub until I convince them otherwise. Today, I didn't have to do that. The teacher told me to take a seat where ever and he'd be right back. I brought a stack of quizzes to grade, thinking I'd be bored. I was far from bored. I picked a seat in the middle of a group of kids who were finished with the lesson for the day.
"What's that quiz on? The Odyssey?! I loved that book. That was seriously my favorite book," said one of my funniest kids from last year.
"Seriously?" I asked. This kid hates reading. He told me so the first day last year.
"Are you serious? Some dude sails around and fights monsters and gets with a bunch of chicks. Then he comes home and turns into the baddest badass ever. Awesome. I love that book."
"Wow," I said, genuinely startled that he remembered that much.
"Here. I bet you I can still answer all of these questions. Watch," he said, snatching the first quiz from my stack. And then he proceeded to answer ten short answer questions correctly and even got all of the vocabulary correct. "See. I told you I loved that book."
That was a great way to start the day. I hear so much from the kids who just hate the books that we read that I never realized that some of them would actually like it. I realized after the fact that it's probably uncool for a freshman to admit to liking an English required reading text. I wonder how many other kids actually enjoyed reading The Odyssey and I never knew.
I taught that kid something that he remembers a full year later. I taught him something that's not on a CATS test, a part of a resume or any other required part of education. I taught him about a book that he genuinely enjoyed. I taught him that reading can be fun.