Friday, May 31, 2019

What I Get To Do And With Whom I Get To Do It

He's a boy who has always been in motion, moving his body according to the story he's telling in his head. Even as a two-year-old he was that way. He's forever embodying personas, usually guys who throw things over and blow things up. He expresses himself with this full body, sometimes without apparent regard to those around him, although I also know that that's not always the case. You sometimes have to say his name several times to get his attention.

He has told me he hates me, usually right after falling hard. He tends to use me like one of his loose parts: ignoring me for long spans, then getting into me, intensely, for a day or two, before moving on to something more interesting.

He has a best friend. He loves his best friend.

I sometimes feel like he doesn't hear me when I speak to him; his internal voice is so insistent.

Last week, we performed our play, a project we've been working on, all of us contributing, since January. In the aftermath of this magnificent success, he approached me in a crowd of children, parents, grandparents, and family friends, seeking me out to say, "Teacher Tom, I love you. I'm going to miss you next year." Then he spread his arms for a hug. Not all the kids get what the end of the school year means. He does.

The parents organized a year-end "card shower" for me, working with their children to produce "something" for Teacher Tom. I've collected them in a canvas tote they've autographed. One of the kids gave me a chain saw made from bits of wood, tempera paint and a glue gun. Others painted pictures of me. Most had a few words to say: "I love you, Teacher Tom," "I like your stories," "I'll come back to see you."

This boy, the one who has always been in motion, handed me his card. He had dictated a poem:

I love you, Teacher Tom.
Teacher Tom, happy day.
The sun rise is good.
Watch the water flow.

I'm about to break from the beauty of what I get to do and with whom I get to do it.

I've published a book! If you are interested in ordering Teacher Tom's First Book, click here. Thank you!

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