Tuesday, May 21, 2013


On balance I'd call today a good day, but, I've decided that long daily updates might not be easy.

He was on time today, and the mom came to the school. Apparently there was a big pow-wow with the teacher, the parent and several "concerned parties," but that was above my pay grade.

I implemented some incentives today and I think they paid off. The worst moment happened again right at recess; after Monday's troubles, he's not allowed on the field where some of those competitive juices might be being misdirected. He was unhappy about that and had his most significant tirade of the day. But the good news was that it ended in about 10 minutes and we decided to go outside.

I talked him into getting on the swings, and I pushed him and encouraged him to embrace it. He seemed to. Later on the playground equipment we had a good talk. I told him that his teacher wanted him to succeed, that she believed in him and that I believe in him. I got a little emotional and felt tears welling but didn't let it get to that. But I sense he understood my conviction. I don't know if he did or not, only time will tell.

But my approach today was to be gentle. A writing assignment did not jazz him at all. I tried to get him into it for 10 minutes, using everything I could muster. Wasn't happening. He kept saying "I don't have any ideas."

So I tried to turn lemons into lemonade. "Hey, it's OK. You call that 'writer's block.' It's hard sometimes to think of something. Maybe you'll come up with an idea later. Thanks for trying."

He didn't try that much. He was more dug in to the idea that he didn't want to do it than he was to give it a shot. But pressuring him any further was only going to ratchet up the frustration level. I felt it was best to make it a win for him.

Later in the day he let me read some books to him. We sat on adjacent stools near the front of the classroom while the other students worked on different projects.

Midway through the first book, he leaned on me a little bit.

Maybe the wall is coming down a brick or two.

Maybe not. Again, this little boy has volatility, and it's possible he doesn't have much trust or confidence in men. I cannot know this, and even though I cautioned myself in this space yesterday about the potential folly of speculation, it's normal to try and identify a "reason" for things we don't comprehend.

There were still incidents, and it'd be pretty foolish of me to think major changes could come in just two days of work. I've only got 22 more days before the summer break begins. And I'm trying to play it cool.

I asked the class at the end of day if I could come back tomorrow. They said that would be OK. So I'll be back tomorrow.

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