This morning, just after homeroom, one of my 4th grade boys, Will, saddled up to my desk, leaned in and whispered, "Mr. Troubadour, Tommy needs your help."
Barely paying attention, I kept my eyes focused on the papers before me and asked, "What does he want?"
"He's being bullied."
I looked up immediately and peered over my glasses. "Where is he?"
Tommy was in the boys bathroom, where a very large, older child had been harassing him. When I walked in, the older boy had his foot wedged in the stall's door, holding it closed. Tommy was pleading to be freed. He was late for homeroom.
Before I said anything as I processed what was happening, Will – a small, diminutive boy – said from behind my back, "I told you I was getting help."
It was the bravest thing I've seen from any of my students in a long time. Not that moment, but the recognition that Will had, before leaving to get me, confronted the perpetrator and tried to intervene on his own. This small boy. This quiet boy.
Back now at my desk, this realization has my head spinning and the eyes watering a bit.
I will be making a phone call home today, and it's the kind of call I am honored to make. A call to let Will's parents know how proud I am of him, and how proud they should be of him.
The episode reminded me of a moment Taylor Mali's "What Teachers Make." I leave it here for you in the event you've never seen it.
Good morning everyone.
Author's Note: Yes, I need to get back to papers. But couldn't help writing about this briefly.