Yesterday, I told The Who and his friend that I would take them out for ice cream after basketball, but the caveat was that they had to have their math homework and their reading done. Through no fault of their own (really, poor time management on my part) the math homework wasn’t done on time and so we all agreed that they would do it in the car, while eating their ice cream (both of them agreeing to get it in a cup instead of a cone to facilitate easier homework-doing.)
As they were both quietly working, his friend said (to The Who, not to me) “I don’t understand this last word problem. Do you?” The Who took a minute to read it over (he hadn’t gotten to that one on his yet) and said, “Yeah, I understand it.” And then he proceeded to explain it by breaking it down into parts and prompting his friend to answer smaller questions until his friend was able to put it all together to understand and solve it.
There were so many things about this exchange that I loved. First, that his friend felt comfortable and confident enough to say that he didn’t understand something without fear of judgment. Second, that he asked his classmate and friend and not me. And, finally that The Who’s instinct was so spot-on in terms of coaching his friend to break it down as opposed to just telling him the answer or how to do it.
To each of them, this exchange was barely worthy of note, but to me, it was extraordinary. And while some of the credit can go to each kid and his personality, I know that a lot of it goes to their teacher and the ways in which she must have fostered this type of interaction in the classroom. It reminds me that there is so much more that they are learning in school above and beyond “Reading, Writing, and ‘Rithmatic.”
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and I am appreciating the hell out of all The Who’s teachers today.