On the Job, Snippets

In Conversation with a Student

close up photography of person holding chamomile flowers
Photo by Bulutsade Hanım on Pexels.com

A few days ago, I mentioned how I was giving my class children a wee bit of time individually, this month, to speak of anything they want to. I have been intent on staying quiet and listening. Advice would not be given unless and until specifically asked.

Yesterday, one of my girls sat opposite me, and as I pulled out my lunch box, giving her time to pull herself together and say something, she startled me with — “Ma’am, I want to know your favourite colour, favourite food, favourite …” — she rattled off a few things.

I just looked at her in astonishment and then I laughed. “You’re the first of the lot of you who has asked about me. I’d called you here so you could talk about anything you wanted. Why would you want to know these little things about me?”

She shrugged and smiled saying she simply wanted to know. I looked at her closely. J- has always been a quiet child in my class. However, I had noted that she was not quiet in a timid way, but quiet in a confident way. At this point I could not help thinking it was the right assumption. It is amazing how people let out little things about themselves in the mere manner of saying or doing things. J- was establishing an equal ground for communication, and I was amazed by that. Amazed and impressed. Once she had set the pace, and had begun to communicate with me as an equal, she began to open up to me bit by bit. I could tell, though, that we were going into the conversation layer by layer. Each layer revealed something a little deeper. Mind you, this was just one conversation, over lunch, in a matter of twenty to twenty-five minutes, with an eleven-year old.

Young J- will grow up to be a leader. With her quiet confidence, and her natural ability to establish an equal standing with someone I can imagine she has something beautiful ahead of her.

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