During my PM class I was circulating around the room, helping kids and encouraging them with their writing. I came across a student who proudly showed me his work, which was an exact replica of the example I gave about things I like about my mom. There is such a fine line between good and thorough modeling and providing the kids something they can just copy. I usually quickly erase my example when I write something to prevent them from just copying, but this time I happened to have left it on the board. That is aside the point though....
I told this child that I wanted him to write what he likes about his mom.
He kind of gave me that blank stare and didn't write anything. I kept trying to encourage him and told him I would give him some thinking time and I would come back and check.
When I returned a few minutes later, he still had not written anything. I crouched down next to him and again tried to ask him what he likes about his mom or what he does with her.
So, as I often do if I think that maybe a child has not understood the directions or needs a better explanation, I tried asking this child in Spanish to see if that would help.
I said, "por qué tu mamá es especial?" and immediately his eyes filled with tears and he began sobbing.
I was so shocked and I felt so horrible, but I honestly still have no idea what set him off.
He has a mom. She is really supportive. He has never cried in school before. I was lost.
I tried so hard to comfort him and ask him if he was ok and what was wrong. I asked him if what I said upset him and he just continued wailing.
I patted his back and told him everything was okay and that I really wanted to help him but that I didn't know what was wrong. Eventually after trying really hard to console him without any luck, I told him that I was going to give him some space and I would check back with him.
Eventually he stopped crying, but only after he had cried long and loud enough that I considered calling one of the ELL teachers to just come and talk to him to see if they could make any headway in figuring out what happened. I seriously have not had criers this year and I was freaked out a little bit. I had forgotten what it was like.
I later went back over after he had stopped crying and asked if he was ok. He nodded and seemed like whatever had caused him to become really upset had passed. I apologized to him and told him that if it was something I said that upset him I was very sorry and I didn't mean to upset him.
For the rest of the day he was fine.
Kids can be such puzzles.
I always try to be sensitive to what is going on in kids' lives and obviously something was up today...maybe he missed his mom? I have no idea, but wow, it was pretty intense there for awhile. One other boy who was sitting nearby covered his ears from the loud crying. Two other boys approached my crying friend and tried to soothe him as well. They were really concerned and so sweet. They kept asking me what happened to him, but all I could say was, I really don't know! A few others kiddos did not want to write about their moms. They could not think of anything to say about their moms. I feel lucky because I have a long list of nice things I could say about my mom.
Sometimes you really can't talk about other people's mamas!