I figured it was about time I updated people on my school year. I'm 7 days into it now, and things have started to come about. Here is what I am talking about.
My ace reading student: Whadda ya mean, I haveta read in this class? I ain't readin', Ms. M.
Me: It's called Reading Comprehension, Joe. The whole idea is to get better at reading. I'm here to help you do that.
My ace student: I don't need no help. I just don't like readin'.
My ace reading student: I hate readin'. Nobody can make me do somethin' I don't like to do.
Me: Would you like me to help you pick out some reading material, Joe? We have some interesting Car and Truck magazines over here.
My ace reading student: Ya mean those count? Ok, I might not mind looking at one of those, but I ain't readin' nuthin'.
Me: That's fine, Joe. Why don't you look at the pictures? Then you can try and find out a little about the cars. My first car was a '74 Dodge Swinger. There's one in that magazine. I'd love to know a little about it, if you don't mind helping me out.
My ace reading student pores diligently over a stack of Car magazines for the entire 60 minute period.
My ace reading student: Hey, Ms. M. I found out about your car for you. See, (brandishing magazine under my nose) here it says: "the '74 Dart Swinger sat atop a 108 inch wheelbase which was shorter than the other Darts. Available in two trims the standard version came equipped with a 198 cubic-inch inline six-cylinder engine. The 340 cubic-inch engine of its predecessor was replaced with a 360 cubic-inch engine that was emissions friendly but still retained about the same horsepower rating, an astonishing 275 horsepower. Also standard was a three-speed fully synchronized floor shifter, sport suspension, dual exhausts, and Rallye instrument cluster. It was a full-size, it was a compact; it was a daily driver, it was a high-performance racing machine. It could be had in two-door, four-door, convertible, hardtop, fastback, and even a station wagon."
Me: Wow, thank you, Joe! I have often wondered about that. Now, can you please explain what all of that means? Because I only understood about one in four words.
My ace reading student: Geez, Ms. M. You're the teacher. You oughtta know important stuff like this. It means ... (explains car gibberish to me).
Me: You know, Joe, you are a very good reader.
My ace reading student: Nah, not me, Ms. M. I hate ta read.
Me: Today, I'm going to read aloud to you from a novel by S.E. Hinton. You probably remember the novel you studied last year in English class by the same author, called "The Outsiders". The book I'm going to read from today is called "Rumble Fish". The main characters in it are called Rusty James and his brother Motorcycle Boy...
My ace reading student: Ms. M., where'd ya put that book? Ya know? The one ya was readin' from yesterday?
Me: Here you go, Joe. I thought of you as I was reading it yesterday, and thought you might enjoy it, so I laid it aside just in case.
And so it goes. I idealized the action somewhat for the faint-of-heart, but gradually, the hard cases are coming around. I do love my job, and I do love all my students ... even the ones who give me a hard time. Now, if I could just get Joe to write in his journal ...