You know how boring adults always say “Tie you’re shoelaces or you’ll trip”?
Well, I’ve never tripped with untied shoes, and I’ve never seen another person trip, either. (I did, however, once tumble all the way down an escalator because a shoelace got caught between the moving stairs and the wall. Damn, that hurt. I was with my father and he was terrified, I remember.)
Today, my students and I were walking up the stairs. At the very bottom of the steps, I stepped on Cat’s Eyes’ shoelaces. (He has the most gorgeous eyes you’ve ever seen. Just like a cat’s eye stone.)
Cat’s Eye fell forward, nearly doing a face plant into the stairs. Had he not broken his fall with his hands, he surely would’ve broken a nose or chipped a tooth. In the meantime, his shoe flew up into the air and hit the wall.
“Are you OK?” I asked, worried.
“Yeah, I’m OK.”
“Are you sure? Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, [Cat’s Eye].”
“Yeah, I’m OK.”
We both laughed, somewhat nervously over what could have happened.
Not as quiet as this one. Sometimes we need to make sure he is breathing. This child never shows emotion. He’s Not Mute…just…very, very quiet.
At the beginning of the year he spoke in my class, but only when I asked him to and always with eye contact. Not Mute also used to sneak around and write things like “have a terrible day” on the white board.
In the last few months he’s started making more eye contact. Several weeks ago I asked him to erase the white board. I turned around a few moments later and found him standing at the white board.
On it he’d written “[NOT MUTE] IS FAMOUS!”
I said, “I need to take your picture. Stay there.”
I grabbed my camera and he just stared blankly at me. I said, “Smile, please.” He hammed it up. He made shocked faces, smiling faces, angry faces. I wish I could post the photos here.
Last week, he raised his hand five questions in a row in language arts. I was so utterly shocked that I called on him three times and each time he had the right answer. I gave him a good behavior note to take home.
And Wednesday! In social studies we were doing a review on the overhead. I was reading the paragraphs, pausing at the blanks so the students could chime in with the key words.
Not Mute didn’t seem to be paying attention and I said, “[Not Mute!] Do you want to come up here and teach?”
He gave me his blank, emotionless look and then nodded as a grin lit up his face. He practically bounced over to the overhead and took over. He read loudly and clearly, at a good pace, pausing perfectly to wait for the students. He didn’t take advantage of his “teacher” status at all. When he was done with his paragraph, he politely called on another student.
I was shocked. I told a few other teachers who work with him as well, and they were shocked.
That afternoon, one of the teachers who works with him came into my class to talk about the drama club.
Yesterday…Not Mute…joined…the drama club.
If the Soon-to-Be-Gone President wants to see shock and awe, he should visit my school.
Today was drama club, and on my way out of the school I poked my head in the door. Sure enough, there was Not Mute. In drama club.
“[Not Mute]!” I yelled, so he’d turn around, “You showed up. I love you!”
He made eye contact with me, nodded his head and silently put his hands against his cheeks, grinning a goofy grin.