Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday School, Part 2

It's June. The weather out here in western Massachusetts is pristine, with a series of recent wild storms and tornadoes having all but scrubbed the skies clean. I look up and see clear, azure tones. I hear summer's call. And my students do, too. I can tell, easily: they're absent all the time now.

This means they've gotta do their due time at Saturday school, which is like structured, glorified detention, for three hours each Saturday. As I've confessed already, I usually work these shifts to pick up a little extra cash, but honestly, I also do it to build relationships with my students. They seem as though they're not all that interested in buddying up with teachers in general, but I've noticed lately that when I approach them to offer help or redirection, they look away or suck their teeth less often. Hoorah! This is progress. I feel the tiniest little victory inside when this happens, and I know that these moments represent learning, in seedling form.

So it's Saturday again. Normally I'd be in my car right now, headed south for the 40 minute commute to school. But today I'm home, still in my nightclothes, a mug of hot, fresh coffee next to my laptop. In a little while I'll be preparing to take care of day-long duties as a baseball mom. I'll certainly miss the opportunity to continue the process of strengthening the bonds with my students. They may or may not show up, I know. But in the back of my mind I'll be thinking about them, engaging in my favorite metacognitive game of playing and replaying the tapes I keep in my head, the ones that have to do with being a better teacher.

There are three more weeks of school this year, and two more Saturday school days. Seventeen opportunities left for me to grab the attention of fourteen Puerto Rican adolescents. I'm ready for a grande finale. I just hope they're at school to see it.