Updated: Aug 11, 2022
Under the table... like all the way under... so that the underside of the table protects you like an umbrella.
Under the table was where Jamar, one of my second graders, felt safe.
Jamar had an aversion to reading. Not just an "I don't want to read" or "I don't like the story", but a "get far away from here so no one sees me" kind of aversion.
So to get away, Jamar went to his safe place: under the table.
After a few days of Jamar retreating under the table and being absolutely adamant that he was not coming out, I decided to join him.
So there I went... under the table.
Over the next few weeks, Jamar and I would meet under the table once a day to foster his love of reading and connect. Eventually, he came out of the safety of underneath the table and found another safe space in our reading corner.
This brings me to the importance of flexible seating and flexible spaces.
Did it really matter that he was not sitting in a chair? Displaying the same reading behaviors as everyone else?
No, it did not.
What mattered was connection. What mattered was meeting him where he felt the safest, and moving forward from there.
Jamar became a reader, but in his own time, in his own way, and beginning in his own safe space.
I don't know if his intention was to be under the table and dreaming, but he allowed me to join him there.
And as a teacher, that is pretty dreamy...
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