Monday, November 14, 2011

How To Make Friends - By Walking a Kid to the Nurse

Early last week I walked out of the teacher lunchroom during lunch and discovered Mrs. Reading trying to console one of our girls who was sobbing up a storm.  Apparently Brooding Girl got smacked right in the nose, accidentally, by another one of our girls who apparently can't watch where she's going and carry her lunch at the same time.  My lunch was already heating up in the microwave and Mrs. Reading hadn't had a chance to buy hers so I said I'd walk Brooding Girl down to the nurse.  

Brooding Girl is quiet, and usually prefers to stay to herself.  She had a bit of a yappy phase there for a while, but one phone call to mom took care of that.  She is in our remediation class because she can be a bit slow on getting work in and doesn't necessarily study and do well on tests.  However, one of the few comments I ever got out of her was that she wants to keep her grades up so she can be in the fashion show club.  So, at least she has a goal and as long as she can stay away from the drama, she should be okay.  That being said, I really didn't know much about her because she's the quiet type that would rather just hide than engage a teacher in conversation.

In any case, she was crying so hard I knew she couldn't even see where we were going, so I put my arm around her and walked her to the nurse.  I kept up a running chatter with her the whole way there about when I had my nose broken in high school (well, actually it was deviated septum surgery, but I wasn't going there), and how I realized it hurt, and blah, blah, blah.  At one point she managed to choke out that she didn't want to look ugly with her makeup all over her face (she's a pretty girl) and so we talked about make-up for a bit.  Whatever it takes to get her to the nurse.  I dropped her off, and back to lunch I went.

Brooding Girl is in my Seventh Period Class From the Very Depths of Hell Itself, so I saw her later that day and noticed, thankfully, no bruising and it didn't look like her nose had swelled up much.  I asked her how she was and she had a pretty bad headache and it hurt.  Yeah, it probably was going to hurt quite a bit, I told her, but a bit of aspirin and some sleep and she'd feel better.

A few days later, during remediation class which Mrs. Reading was teaching that day, Brooding Girl came in to see if she owed me any assignments.  As luck would have it, she did, so I gave her copies of the missing work, and explained some of it.  

And then, the most amazing thing happened.

She stood there in front of my desk and just chattered away like I'd never heard her chatter.  

Truly.  This from a kid who's maybe said two words to me all year.  She stood there and told me how she'd cleaned the house for her mom the night before, because her mom was kind of depressed when her boyfriend wasn't around, and he was really nice, he was Italian, and he was teaching Brooding Girl to make espresso, and she cleaned all the rooms, and even her room, and helped her sister clean as well, and she thought she'd made mom happy, and then she made up all her missing work, except for science, and she was going to do that tonight, and gee thanks for giving me the work, and my nose doesn't hurt anymore.


Could it be, that all it took was a five minute walk to the nurse??


Meaghan said...

I love those out of the blue moments. My favorites are catching kids in the hallway or in the kitchen heating up lunches before their meetings when you just get to chill. No homework, no classes, just a chance to get to know them. Sporting events are good for me too...I get there to watch the lower teams and sit with the kids who are watching. After a while they forget I'm there and I hear so much about their lives, it helps keep me updated and current.

The Bus Driver said...

Sometimes you dont realize what a child will remember. I know some of the kids i've driven remember me fondly, while others hate me because i'm "mean".... but show kindness to a kid when they most need it, and they will remember it forever.

Miss Roots said...

Hi Mrs Bluebird!
I'm an NQT and have just started a board games club for 11 and 12 year olds. I wondered if you had any tips as I remember that you run one? I'm finding it hard to explain all the different games at the same time as they've never played them before and get confused when they try and figure it out themselves.

Thanks for your blog, it makes great reading when I get down about teaching as you are doing so much good!

Miss Angel said...

Thats awesome! Its weird how sometimes when you give a kid individual attention, you become their very best friend!

Darren said...

It often doesn't take much. I keep relearning that lesson....