Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 14

Today, March 14th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Quietly, I snuck into the classroom.  The roomful of fifth graders sat attentively at their desks, listening to their teacher.  Holding the book in my hands, I surveyed the room.  Where was he?

Then I spotted him.  Blue shirt.  Close cropped hair.  Yep, that’s him.  He had just left my classroom, and now here he sat for the final period of the school day.  At least he’s toward the back, I thought to myself.  Working my hardest to emulate the silence of a bat, I swooped toward the boy.  Kneeling down, I laid the book on his desk.  He looked at me.  I looked at him.  He looked at the book.

“You forgot this,” I whispered.  He had just finished the first beautiful book, The War That Saved My life, and I had made sure I had the sequel waiting for him, The War I Finally Won.  But in his haste to be on time to his last class, he’d left it on my table.

“Thank you,” he whispered back.  A small smile may have formed on this face.

“I wanted you to have it,” I said.  Those words could not have felt more true, as we all would head home from school, uncertain when we would be able to return.  Closed indefinitely.  Coronavirus now firmly in control.

Silently, I exited the room, thinking about the title of the book I just handed my student.  As we all do what we can to combat the spread of this virus, I look forward to the day we can feel that title resonate.

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

17 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge 2020 Day 14”

  1. A true teacher moment in such hard times. Closed indefinitely? It is so crazy how schools are responding differently. New York City public schools are open, which I cannot fathom. My friends who teach there are beside themselves. My school is only closed Monday and Tuesday (for now) and my children are closed through Friday. I am worried about the virus and I am hearing there are no tests so I fear there are way more cases than we know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A number of states, including my home state of Oregon, are closing all schools down. I just heard yesterday Washington will close for 6 weeks. Like you, I can’t fathom why NYC would keep schools open. I have friends who have taken their kids and left the city because they don’t want their kids in school right now. My own kids are canceled for at least two weeks. I agree with you, it’s crazy how districts are responding so differently.

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  2. This pretty much sums up how many of us feel this weekend as we send students home – for who knows how long – hoping the seeds of learning and reading are able to grow at home.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Isn’t that such a good feeling, to personally return an item to a child, before it becomes a “lost” item? Especially here, when you know it is a book he is dying to read, and a comfort during uncertain times. I have read both those books and they will help your student through all this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This slice is so simple but so beautifully done- the emotion on both sides comes through. Thanks for sharing a good moment in this uncertain time. Our family will be discovering new worlds through lots of reading in the next weeks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have, on occasion, had the experience of finding a student to get a book into their hands (although I am less silent bat and much more rampaging rhino!), but witnessing your exchange made me so sad. I was out of our building on Thursday, we had a PD day Friday and it is unclear whether we will see our students Monday…I am aching for a few moments to reassure my students and make sure they have that “just right” book to take with them.

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  6. I love the craft moves in this part: Working my hardest to emulate the silence of a bat, I swooped toward the boy. Kneeling down, I laid the book on his desk. He looked at me. I looked at him. He looked at the book.
    I clearly picture you stealthily moving toward him, squatting down and the exchange of looks. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Felt like I was right there observing (almost intruding on) this private moment and so glad I could witness that genuine act of caring and connection that so many amazing teachers offer to their students each day. It is tiny interactions like this that can make a tremendous difference in the lives of our students, and like you mentioned, you never know just how impactful or if it might be the last chance for a long time. LOVED this!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Haunting and hopeful layers in this slice. There’s small winning to be had in continuing to write, read, and share. whether to start making sense of new situations we’ve never experienced before or to pause meaningfully over the familiar act of a teacher sharing a book with a student.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your slice is what teaching is all about. I could just picture you “swooping” in and the boy’s face. He may have been making a small smile, probably was, but inside that smile will grow and grow. And one day he will tell this story, the story of a teacher who made a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

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