Theirs are the voices I want to hear

I have a student who is known by many as a kid who cuts class, wanders the hallways and uses the school iPad to watch movies or listen to music as often as he can.

He is not loud or talkative. Sometimes he comes to my class when I know he is supposed to be elsewhere and he is so stealth about it, it can take time before I notice.

All of the boys from his part of the world get a long rather well, and he is surprisingly friendly to kids I would have thought he’d avoid. Yet kids will jokingly say they are scared of him. He no doubt has a tough reputation. He has a rigid jaw and high cheekbones which can make him seem stern and unhappy. But he is quick to laugh.

He is a war history buff. He loves to read about it and about the leaders of wars.

He doesn’t like to sit still unless he is watching a war-themed movie.

He seems to like to keep moving. Even when he is in class, he will often stand in the doorway, halfway in the room and halfway out. I don’t think he does this in all his classes.

But I can’t help but wonder why he does in mine.

He has not opened up to me about his dad who lives in his home country, but I have heard stories.

He told me his mom lives in Europe, and due to the time zone they almost never talk.

When he has to dress for ROTC, he asks me to help him take out his earrings and then later to put them back in.

Why would you want to do anything other than devise a curriculum where you are discovering what he loves to read? Or conferring with him to discover what are things he wants to say about the world or to the world?

How do you feel the weight of “content coverage”, more than the weight of curiosity and a desire to be the one to empower kids like him to tell their stories? To develop his thoughts on topics he is passionate about rather than steering him to yours?

I know I’m saying “you” when in reality the “you” I’m speaking to isn’t likely reading this blog ha. But we have all struggled with this one way or another.

Although I am the reading class, I have started to try blogging with them just to give them a platform, a place to be encouraged to find and share their voices on whatever they wish. I couched it in terms of wanting to hear what they say about what they are reading, so at least it relates to the class 😁

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