Last school year we had a new Grade 10 student come to Britannia. She was one of those students I sometimes refer to as a “full-time job” in that she required a lot of time and attention. Almost right off the bat she was being kicked out of classes or leaving, skipping and barely completing any work. I was practically at my wits end.
I kept referring her to Homework Club and even attempted to mandate her to attend, but she told me outright that she would never set foot in that program. I was not deterred. Upon returning this year, once Natalie and I took over directorship, I approached the topic again. It was an absolute no. Fortunately for me, we were spending a lot of time together as she was not jiving with her teachers so I had ample opportunity to casually mention “hey, did you know we do a hot dinner at Homework Club?” or “hey, why don’t you just come by for half an hour one day.” I never pushed but just always left the invitation on the table.
Finally, she came by one day and stayed a total of 30 seconds, waved a hello at me and left, but it felt like progress had been made. The second time she made herself a sandwich and asked about printing. This was good! The third time she stayed until the very end, working away, and I don’t think I have ever seen more of a look of accomplishment on a student’s face. She said to me, in awe of herself, “Ms. Simonson I am actually getting so much work done here.” It was so lovely to be witness to a student finding a space that allowed her to complete tasks, but more importantly one in which she felt comfortable and welcome.
~ Katie Simonson