Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Sending a Kid up Everest
Report cards and parent conferences are over, and it's time for Thanksgiving break! I feel like I've worked hard enough for it!
Exhaustion makes me cranky and maybe a little fanciful. My over-exerted neurons are firing off crazy ideas and strange little mini-stories. Overall, parent conferences went very well, and I heard a number of times that I’ve made a positive influence on my students. A couple parents have thanked me for placing a particular book into the hands of their child, transforming a reluctant reader into someone hungry for more books by that author/in that series/on that topic. So maybe it’s no wonder the following conversation in the library this week was followed by a paranoid crazy fantasy:
Me: Mark, why haven’t you picked out a library book?
Mark: (skulking at the back of the line, where he always tries to hide) I hate reading. I don’t want a book.
Me: We go through this every week, Mark. Let’s pick something interesting and short.
Mark: (stomping over reluctantly) Nothing’s interesting.
Me: Look, here’s a book on Mt. Everest. (Mark rolls his eyes.) C’mon, Mark. Lots of people died trying to climb Everest. You’ll like that part.
Mark: (with a spark of interest) Really?
Me: Oh, yeah. Look, here’s a picture of Beck Weathers, who was left for dead. But turns out, he was alive and he practically had to rescue himself.
Mark: (pointing at another picture) Are those all tombstones?
Me: Yeah. Pretty gruesome, huh?
Mark: Okay, I’ll take it.
I figured at first that he was only humoring me, so we could hurry up and leave the library. But as we walked back to the classroom, I looked back and saw him reading while walking. I smiled to myself. If he liked this book, I would try to get him interested Gordon Korman’s Everest series. Maybe Mark would get really interested in Everest. Maybe Mark would become a mountain climber. Maybe Mark would someday ascend Mr. Everest. Maybe Mark would get hurt! And I would be to blame! And his mother would be crying on the news, telling the world it was all the fault of Mark’s fifth grade teacher who gave him a book on Everest …
That’s about the time I realized, I really, really, really need this upcoming holiday break.